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BY W. F. COBB, D.D. 

- A T T -: ' : •• - :'. • 





T N translating the Comments of Cornelius a Lapide on 
-*- the First Epistle to the Corinthians, the Translator has 
endeavoured, next to accuracy, to secure a reproduction of 
the spirit of the Commentator. 

The Translator, accordingly, has limited his efibrts to a 
reproduction of the matter, and as far as possible of the 
form and spirit of the original, believing that most readers 
w^ould prefer to see for themselves what Cornelius a Lapide 
believed to be the plain meaning of Holy Scripture, and 
to appreciate the piety which he brought to its elucidation. 
The only liberties taken with the original consist in an 
attempt to shorten a little its terrible prolixity, and in the 
correction of a few obvious mistakes in matters of fact. 

W. F. C. 

Noi'ember 1895. 




I After his salutation and thanksgiving, lo he exhorteth them to unity, and 12 
reproveth their dissensions, lii God destroy et it the wisdotn of the 'wise, 21 by 
tJie foolishness of preaching, and 26 calleth not the wise, tnighty, and noble, 
butT."], 28 the foolish, weak, and men of 710 account. 

PAUL, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and 
Soslhenes our brother, 

2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in 
Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name 
of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours : 

3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given 
you by Jesus Christ ; 

5 Tliat in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all 
knowledge ; 

6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you : 

7 So that ye come behind in no gift ; waiting for the coming of our Lord 
Jesus Christ : 

8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the 
day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus 
Christ our Lord. 

10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, tliat 
ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you ; but that 
ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 

1 1 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them ivliich are 
of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 

12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul ; and I of 
ApoUos ; and I of Cephas ; and I of Christ. 

13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the 
name of Paul? 

14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius ; 

15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. 

VOL. I. A 


i6 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas : besides, I know not 
whether I baptized any other. 

17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with 
wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 

18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness ; but unto 
us which are saved it is the power of God. 

19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to 
nothing the understanding of the prudent. 

20 Where is the wise ? where is the scribe ? where is the disputer of this world ? 
hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world ? 

21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it 
pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 

22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom : 

23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto 
the Greeks foolishness ; 

24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of 
God, and the wisdom of God. 

25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men ; and the weakness of God 
is stronger than men. 

26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the 
flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 

27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise ; 
and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which 
are mighty ; 

28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God 
chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are : 

29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 

30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and 
righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption : 

31 That, according as it is written. He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 


ACHAIA, or the peninsula commonly called the Morea, had in olden times several 
famous cities. The metropolis of these was the celebrated emporium of 
Corinth, famed, says Chrysostom, for its two ports, of which Lechreum stood 
on the Ionian and Schonus on the yT,gean Sea. Hence poets, as, e.i^., Ovid 
{Faslii'v.), frequently called it bi>naris. 

Corinth is said to have had its first foundation from Sisyphus, the robber son of 
^olus, and to have been called Corcyra (Strabo, lib. 8.), and afterwards 
Ephyre. Having been destroyed, it was rebuilt by Corinth, son of Marithon, 
or of Pelops, according to Suidas, or according to others of Orestes, and was 
called after his name. Cicero, in his speech /r<? lege Manilid, calls this city 
the light of the whole of Greece. Its natural position was so strong that the 
Romans found great difficulty in reducing it. 

I Corinth abounded in wealth, in merchandise of all kinds, and in metals, especially 
brass or copper. This Corinthian copper was well known and in great 


request ; so much so that I'liny {lib. iv., c. 2) says tliat it was reckoned equal 
to gold or silver. From this wealth were derived the pride, gluttony, self- 
indulgence, lust and ostentatious living of the Corinthians, and it became 
a proverbial saying that it was not every man's luck to go to Corinth. 
Demosthenes replied to a harlot who asked for eight talents of gold as her 
hire that he did not give so high a price for repentance. For the same 
reason the Apostle is called upon to rebuke their vices, and especially 
in ch. vi. 

At Corinth flourished a large number of orators and philosophers, amongst 
whom was Periander, one of the Seven Wise Men of Cireece. Paul, we can 
see, went to Corinth because it gave him so excellent an opportunity for 
spreading the Gospel. There he converted many to Christ, by the help of 
the Lord, who appeared to him in a vision at Corinth and said, *' Be not 
afraid but speak, and hold not thy peace, for I am with thee and no man 
shall set on thee to hurt thee ; for I have much people in this city." Under 
Paul's preaching the Corinthian Christians made such progress that Paul 
himself speaks (i. 5 ; xiv. 26) of their wisdom, prudence, gift of prophecy, and 
other gifts bestowed on them by God. 

From this there arose among the Corinthians pride, self-seeking, and strife, and 
especially after the arrival of Apollos. Some then came to prefer him to Paul, 
as a more polished and eloquent speaker. Thence came schisms ; while one 
jiarty would boast, " I am of Paul," and another, " I am of Apollos." This 
caused Paul to write to them this Epistle, in which, through the first four chap- 
ters, he tries to lead them away from pride in human wisdom and eloquence, 
and from all contentious support of their teachers, Paul and Apollos, and to 
bring them to the humility of the Cross, to the doctrine of the faith of Christ. 

The Corinthians had written to Paul, asking him to resolve certain difficulties 
they felt (vii. i), which he does in this letter. After dealing in the first 
four chapters with their schisms and striving after empty wisdom, he proceeds in 
ch. V. to order the fornicator to be excommunicated, and in ch. vi., to rebuke 
them for this sin of fornication, and for going to law before heathen judges. 
In ch. vii. he answers their first question about matrimony and virginity, 
and lays down the laws of Christian marriage, putting over against it and 
before it the evangelical counsel of virginity and celibacy. Then in chs, 
viii. and x., he deals with the question of eating of things offered to idols, 
and lays down that such eating was lawful but needed caution, lest the 
weaker brethren should be offended. In ch. ix., he shows how such offence 
might be guarded against, and takes occasion to say that, out of regard for 
his neighbour's edification, he himself had abstained from receiving pay for 
his own support, but had maintained himself, while preaching the Gospel, by 
the labours of his hands. In ch. xi., he replies to their third question, one 
concerning the veiling of women, as well as their fourth about the Eucharist 
and Agapoe. In ch. xii., he discourses of the gifts of the Spirit, pointing 
out that different gifts were distributed by the Holy Spirit to different people. 
Ch. xiii. dwells on the pre-eminent place among the gifts and graces of the 
Spirit occupied by charity. Ch. xiv. is an answer to the fifth question of the 
Corinthians, as to whether the gift of tongues was superior to the gift of 
prophecy. He answers in the negative. Ch. xv. resolves their sixth doubt, 
and gives manifold proofs of the resurrection, and describes its gifts, its mode,' 


and order. In ch. xvi. he orders a collection to be made for tlie poor saints 
at Jerusalem, and he closes all with salutalions. 

5 Both this and the Second Epistle were written before that to the Romans; for, 

as Chrysostom points out, the collection which he orders here (i Cor. xvi. 2), 
he speaks of in Rom. xv. 25, 26, as having already taken place. The Greek 
MSS. say that this Epistle was written at Philippi and sent by Timotheus, 
and in this they are supported by the Syriac and the Regia Latina. But it 
seems more likely from xvi. 8, and other passages, that it was written at 
Ephesus (Acts xix. i), in a.d. 57 (Baronius and CEcumenius). 

Ver. I. — Sosthenes. He was chief ruler of the synagogue at 
Corinth; having been converted to Christ by Paul, he was severely 
beaten for his faith before Gallic, the Proconsul (Acts xviii. 17), and 
after his death was placed among the Saints. — November 28th. 

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are 
sa7ictificd in Christ Jesus, called to be saints [supply, Paul writes 
and salutes in praying], grace be unto you and peace from God. For 
called to be saints the Syriac translates, called and saints. For in 
Greek it is not the participle Aeyo/xevos or KeKXrjixevos, i.e., summoned, 
named, called ; but kAt^tos, a word which denotes having a call to 
holiness, or holy by way of call, called to holiness. 

Note first, that Paul throughout this chapter and everywhere else 
holds up to admiration this benefit of calling. Secondly, that this 
and all other benefits he humbly and devoutly ascribes to the Divine 
benevolence and to the power of humility. Chrysostom has here a 
noteworthy passage in the moral part of his first homily. 

Thirdly, it is plain from this, in opposition to Pelagius, that, not 
for our merits, but by the mere grace of God, have we been called 
to the faith and the grace of Christ. Again, that all Christians were 
formerly called Saints : not because they were really so, but by way 
of call, profession, duty. 

Fourthly, he calls them saints in Christ, that is sanctified 
through the merits of Christ, namely, in Baptism and its conse- 
quent gifts. 

Fifthly : ''the church," and the ''called to be saints" are the same 
thing. For the latter is in opposition and is explanatory of the 
former : so that if you ask. What is the Church ? I shall answer from 
this passage of S. Paul : It consists of those called to be Saints, or it 


is a congregation and assembly of the faithful, who have been called 
to holiness. 

Whence, sixthly, it is evident from here that the Church is visible ; 
for Paul writes these things not to an abstract idea, but " to the 
church which is at Corinth," which was able to read and see his 
letters, as is plain. 

Seventhly, from this place it is evident that there is the same 
Church everywhere, a part of which was the Church at Corinth. 
Whence he says : " JVith all that in every place call iipon the name 
cf Jesus Christ o:ir Lord, both theirs and otirs ;" i.e, all Christians, 
wherever they exist : whether with me in this place of ours, or in 
any other place you please. Theirs, then, viz., of the Corinthians, 
and ours, viz., of me and Sosthenes. He adds this, that no one 
might suppose when he said Jesus Christ 02ir Lord, that he meant 
to say that Christ is the Lord of Paul and Sosthenes alone. So 
Chrysostom says : " By this Paul tacitly enjoins the Corinthians 
that they ought to lay aside contentions and to be of one mind, as 
being members of the same Church, and of the same Head, Christ." 
Next, he reminds them that he writes this letter specially indeed to 
the Corinthians, but, nevertheless, that he wishes it to be a circular 
letter to all Christians, in the same way that the letters of the other 
Apostles and of the Bishops in those first ages were circular letters. 

Cajetan's interpretation of ^"^ ours'' that it means, " Our jurisdiction 
extends itself to Corinth and to the Corinthians, so that the city and 
district of Corinth is both theirs and ours," is forced. Lastly, why 
that is called the Church, or the summoning, or the assembly of 
those called to the faith, which formerly was called the svnaso^ue, 
that is, the congregation ; and what it is, its nature and its marks, see 
in Bellarmine in his sound and learned dissertation on the Church 
{Jib. \., c I, 2 ei set/.) 

Ver. 4. — / thank my Cod ahvays on your behalf, for the grace of 

God which is given you by Jesus Christ. "For the grace," in Greek, 

l~\ Ty ^dpiTi, that is, on account of the grace of God, zvhich is given 

you in Christ, i.e., through Christ. Sec Can. 25. "The source," 

says S. Bernard {Scrm. 13 in Cant.), "of all the springs and rivers 


is the sea : but the source of all virtue and knowledge is the Lord 
Jesus Christ : the continence of the flesh, the energy of the heart, 
the rectitude of the will, all flow from that spring : let the heavenly 
stream be given back to its source " (by thanksgiving), " so that the 
farthest parts of the earth may be replenished ; ' I will not give my 
glory to another,' saiih God " (Isa. xlviii. 1 1). 

■\'er_ £. — 77/rt/ t'n everything ye are enriched by Him (by Christ), 
in all utterance (of the preaching of the Gospel), and in all know- 
ledge^ that is, in spiritual understanding of Him. In other words, I 
give thanks to God, because by me and ApoUos He put before you, 
richly, the preaching and doctrine of the Gospel and a perception 
and understanding of it. 

Ver. 6. — Even as the testimony of Christ 7vas confirmed in you — 
/>., by which, as by two testimonies, the Christian faith was founded 
and established in you. For the Greeks interpret the Greek K-a^w?, 
/>., even as, by enallage, 8t' Zv, through which, that is, the word antl 
knowledge. Others interpret, Even as the testimofiy, thus : by 
which things, viz., by the preaching of the Gospel, and by the know- 
ledge of it, as by a sure testimony, it is known that you are faithful 
and disciples of Christ. 

Ver. 7. — Waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His 
second Advent, when you will receive from Christ an abundant 
supply of all graces, and your consummation in heavenly glory. 

Ver. 8. — Who shall also cotifirm you, so far as His part is ; i.e., 
shall give grace which can confirm you, and shall confirm you in- 
deed, if you are willing to receive it, to use it, and to confirm your- 
selves in the faith and love of Christ : shall confirm you, I say, for 
this, that ye may be, and may persevere tinto the end (of life) blame- 
less ; that is, unaccused, whom no one can charge wiih having 
committed anything against the faith and love of Christ. The 
Apostle speaks to the whole Church, in which the greater number 
were holy and blameless, although some few were sowing schisms, 
and these in the following verse he reproves and condemns. 

Jn the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is an ellipse common 
with the Apostle : for we must supply, that ye may be and may 


appear, blameless in that day of the advent and judgment of 

Ver. 9. — God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship 
of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Note, faithful with S. Paul is 
the same as constant, truthful, as I shall show on i Tim i. 15 ; not, 
according to Calvin, as though God saves those only who have been 
effectually called by Him, and all of them ; and as though He bids 
and makes each one of them believe with a firm faith that he will be 
saved. For if so, why, in the next verse, anxious about the salva- 
tion of the Corinthians, does he condemn their divisions? Had not 
the Corinthians believed ? — and yet, having lapsed into schisms, they 
had incurred the danger of damnation, and, therefore, Paul en- 
deavours to avert it from tliem. The faithful, therefore, can lapse 
into sin and be damned. God, then, is said to be faithful, because, 
not without cause, will He, O Corinthians, withdraw His help from 
you which He began to give, and afterwards promised that He 
would give, in order that you might persevere and be confirmed in the 
faith and fellowship of Jesus ; nor will He desert you unless He be 
first deserted by you ; as the Council of Trent teaches (following S. 
Augustine), Sess. vi. c. 11 and 13, where it lays down the same three 
things which the Apostle does here : (i.) Tiiat God gives the grace 
of Christ to all the justified : because, if they are willing, they are 
able to persevere in righteousness. (2.) That they by their own will 
can fall from it. (3.) That no one knows whether he will persevere, 
and whether he is of the number of the elect, unless he has a 
special revelation of it from God. 

Note secondly. Paul here calls the communion of the faith, 
grace and glory of Christ which is enjoyed in the Church of Christ, 
the fellowship of His Son; or that partaking of Christ in which we 
have a fellowship of sonship, inheritance, the Sacraments, and all the 
benefits of Christ. In other words : Ye are called to be sons of 
God, fellows, members, brothers, and co-heirs ofCiirist: so Anselm, 
Ambrose, Theophylact and Chrysostom (whom see), and i S. John 
i. 3. And here notice : although, as the Apostle says, all faithful 
Christians are of the fellowship of Christ, yet some are more so than 


Others : that is to say, those who share more largely of the life and 
grace of Christ : as those who follow, not only the precepts, but also 
the counsels of Christ; even as the Apostles were more of the 
fellowship of Christ than other Christians. 

Ver. lo. — / beseech you, brethren, by the nams of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, into whose one and the same fellowship, family, house, and 
Church we are all called, as many as are faithful and Christians, 
that ye all speak the same thing — that is to say, that, like brothers, ye 
agree in words and in speech, and that ye all say at the same time 
" I am of Christ; " but let not one say, "I am of Paul," another, " I 
of Apollos." And, again, that ye agree not only in speech, but also 
in mind : otherwise your verbal confession would be feigned and 
false. Whence he adds as the root of concord : — 

That ye be perfectly joined together in the same jnind and in the same 
Judgment, that ye think the same thing and agree among yourselves 
in Christ, that ye be fitly united to each other in one mind and 
spirit in Christ. For the Greek signifies, aptly and harmoniously to 
join and cement anything, so that the parts agree with each other 
and with the whole. And because a thing is then perfect and 
complete when it has in this way been neatly and harmoniously 
united, hence the word signifies also to perfect, as Ps. viii. 2 ; 2 Cor. 
xiii. II. Be perfect, i.e., mutually agree amongst yourselves and 
with your Head ; and Ps. xl. 6 (Sept.). 

Ver. II. — For it hath been declared unto me by them of Chloe. 
Some think that Chloe is the name of a place, but this place is 
nowhere else mentioned; nor does the Greek well allow Chloe 
to be a place. Whence more truly Chrysostom and the Syriac 
suppose it to be the name of a family or of a woman, and then 
the meaning is, J have heard from the family of Chloe. By a similar 
Greek idiom it is said, Rom. xvi. 10, 11 : "Salute them which are 
of Aristobulus, of Narcissus," viz., of the house and family. 

Ver. 12. — That every one of you ; i.e.. Whoever of you contend 
with one another, and foment any part of schism. (For there were 
among the Corinthians many others well-disposed and peaceful, 
unconnected with schism, and consequently with the following 


words) : says, in turn, alternately or respectively ; for not each one 
was saying, / am of Paul, I of ApoUos, I of Cephas, but in turn ; 
since one would say, / am of Paid, another, / of Apollos, a third, 
/ of Cephas. In the words "every one," therefore, there is a dis- 
tributive and disjunctive force famiHar to the Hebrews ; for every 
one ambitiously and contentiously was saying, " I am of Paul," &c., 
I am of Paul, viz., a disciple, a catechumen; I of Cephas, that is 
to say, taught or baptized by the Blessed Pontiff Peter at Antioch, 
at Rome, or elsewhere. For Peter had not yet been at Corinth, as 
is deduced from ch. iv. 15. Whence Baronius thinks that these are 
the words of those who were avoiding divisions, which had properly 
arisen because of Paul and Apollos, as appears in ch. iii. 4, and that, 
to escape, from them, while others were boasting of their teachers, 
they would declare they were the disciples neither of Paul, nor of 
Apollos but of Peter, the head of the Church ; as though they should 
say, "This man says and boasts that he is the disciple of Paul, that 
man of Apollos ; but I say that I am of Cephas, that is, that I am 
a disciple of Peter, who is the head of the Church, and the Vicar 
of Christ : for to him I cling, in him I glory ; he converted and 
baptized me by Paul or Apollos or some other." Whence another 
rising higher would say : "/«;« of Christ, who is the supreme Head 
of Apostles and of the Church, whose Vicar Peter is, whose 
ministers are Paul and Apollos." For it is to be noted that he adds 
I am of Christ as the words of those who speak not amiss but 
rightly, if there is no contention and contempt of the Apostles and 
the Vicars of Christ, as the Anabaptists now despise Prelates; for 
it became all to say, "We are of Christ," viz.. Christians; whereas 
some called themselves disciples of Paul, or of Apollos, or of 
Cephas. So Ambrose, Theophyhct, S. Thomas. The occasion 
of the schism seems to have been that Apollos, who was eloquent, 
acute, and learned in the Scriptures, was then teaching at Corinth 
(Acts xviii. 27), and compared to him S. Paul seemed to some 
cold and bald, because he avoided in his preaching all display of 
knowledge or of rhetorical ornament, as he says himself (ch. ii. 4.) 
Lastly, S. Jerome (on Tit. i.) gathers from this passage that 


IJishops were given jurisdiction over presbyters, so as to remove 
all scandals, and that the Church before this was governed by the 
Presbyters in common council. This opinion must be discussed 
when we come to the Epistle to Titus. 

VcT. 13. — Were ye baptized in the name of Paul? Christ is one, 
and in His name all were alike baptized. In vain then, he says, do ye 
con:end for us, which of us is to be the greatest, when we are but the 
ministers of baptism. Hence, theologians teach that the validity of 
Baptism and the other Sacraments depends not on the disposition of 
the receiver, or of the minister, but flows from the Sacrament itself. 

Note 1. that to be baptized in the name of Christ is the same as 
to be baptized in the invocation, profession, power, merit, and 
baptism of Christ, and so to have a right to the name of Christ. 
Therefore we are called Christians from Christ, and not Paulians, 
or Apollinians. For the power of excellency which Christ has in 
Baptism and the other Sacraments, see S. Thomas. 

2. S. Thomas and others, as well as the history of the Greek 
Church, show that that Church uses as its form of Baptism, not 
'• I baptize thee," but " Let the servant of Christ be baptized in 
the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost," so that 
no one can say, " I am of Paul," or " I am of Apollos." 

3. Erasmus, Faber, and other innovators, wrongly argue that 
by parity of reasoning it is wrong to say, " I am of Scotus," and 
'•I of Thomas;" "I am a pupil and follower of Francis," "I of 
Dominic ; " because the Apostle is only censuring contentions for 
the pre-eminence, and the schisms of which some at Corinth 
boasted, and which divided the Church into hostile factions : so 
that they attributed the power and excellence of Baptism and of 
the faith not to Christ, but to Paul or Apollos. But this is no 
condemnation of monastic institutions, or of the schools and 
academies of the philosophers and theologians; for thou^^h they ' 
differ from one another in their customs, their rites, and opinions, 
yet they are joined together in the same faith, the same Christian 
charity and humility. If any one does otherwise, his religion will 
be vain, and we will hand over his vanity and contentiousness to 


be corrected by S. Paul with that of the Corinthians. This is the 
sin of the individual, not of the Order; as in this chapter it is the 
sin of individual Corinthians that is dealt with, not that of the 
Church. Far more truly and suitably may we use this passage 
against the schisms of modern innovators. For they say, " I am 
of Calvin," or " I of Luther," or " I of Menno," and this in matters 
of faith and religion. For Calvin teaches one faith, Luther another, 
Menno another. But the diversity of Religious Orders makes for 
the greater beauty, strength, and unity of the Church ; just as a 
camp is beautified, strengthened and united by the due distribu- 
tion of its legions. For without this distribution it would be in 

The religious of the various Orders are united not only under 
one head, the Supreme Pontiff, in the one Church, but also by 
their living under the same Order, whether their state be lay or 
cleric. For the Religious Orders make, as it were, one legion in 
the Church, and that its strongest one. As, then, the members of 
the same body are joined in one, and as the soldiers of the same 
lesion are more united to one another than the soldiers of different 
legions, so the Religious who are aspiring to the height of perfec- 
tion are bound together more closely than all others by the bond of 
religion and of prayer to God. 

If there is any amongst them who calumniates, envie?, opposes 
another Order, that man's religion is vain ; he is not a Religious, 
nay, he is not a Christian, but a heathen ; he is not led by the Spirit 
of God, but by that of the devil. For the true Religious says with 
S. Bernard in his Apology, '■'■ For o>ie Order /work; to all oihers I 
show charity^ In work, I am a Franciscan, in charity a Dominican, 
an Augustinian, a Benedictine, &c. And therefore I am a religious 
of all Orders ; I have work for one, charity for all. Therefore 
I rejoice in the good of all Orders : I am pleased at the prosperity 
of ail, I envy none. For all are mine, and I belong to all. Is 
Christ divided in the different orders? God forbid. For the 
same Christ is the Institutor, Author, and Governor of all Religious 
Orders, and that makes for their greater concord. Let not then 


that which ought to be the cause of greater harmony be the 
cause of the most disgraceful division, which is hateful to God, 
lest we hear the words, "Whereas there is among you envying 
and strife and divisions, are ye not carnal?" And again, "Is thine 
eye evil because I am good ? " If it has pleased God to add 
Order to Order, to raise up new ones to supplement the old, to 
give them fresh supplies of His grace and of His Spirit, who can 
find fault with God? who can envy the new Orders? who deprive 
the Church of such workmen? Suppose that they do carry off 
the prize ; I will rejoice that God is honoured through them, and 
that more souls are saved ; and may I be a sharer of their labours, 
for I seek not mine own glory, but that of God. 

Ver. 1 6. — And I baptized also the house of Stephanas. Stephanas, 
says Theophylact, was a well-known inhabitant of Corinth, whose 
faith and charity are praised by S. Paul (ch. xvi. 17). 

\''er. 17. — For Christ sejit me not to baptize, but to preach the 
Gospel. Preaching and the administration of the Sacraments are 
the two duties of Pastors, but especially the former. And there- 
fore the chief work of Bishops, Archbishops, and Primates is to 
I^reach the Gospel : and this they are bound to do themselves, 
unless lawfully hindered (Council of Trent, Sess. v. c. 2, and Sess. 
iv. c. 4). But they may with Paul intrust the administration of 
Baptism and the other Sacraments to Parish Priests and their 

Not with wisdom of words. I.e., with eloquence and rhetorical 
adornment, not according to the Gospel. The Greek word for 
wisdom gives us Sophists, the Greek orators who particularly 
pleaded in the law courts. Of this kind are modern innovators 
in religion, who rightly style themselves "ministers of the word." 
Not so did Paul, "/«/ the cross of Christ should be made of none 
effect," i.e., should become emptied of its force, by men supposing 
that they had obtained salvation, and their belief in the faith 
through human eloquence, instead of by the power of the Passion 
of Christ. This was the origin of the schism of those who said, " I 
am of Paul," "I of ApoUos," because the eloquence of Apollos 


was pleasing to some of the more fastidious Corinthians, and to 
those who loved eloquence ; while on the other, Paul pleased those 
who sought for the spirit rather than the words, inasmuch as he was 
unskilled indeed in rhetoric but not in knowledge. And thence 
it is that S. Paul here and in the next three chapters attacks and 
abases in different ways eloquence and worldly wisdom. The 
"wisdom of words" can be taken for natural philosophy, or the 
wisdom of human reason; for it is opposed to the Cross in ver. i8; 
and again, in verses 19, 20-27, ^e explains it as philosophy and 
human reason and prudence. (Maldonalus.) 

Ver, 18. — For the preaching of the Cross is to them tJiat perish 
foolishness. Any declaration about the salvation bestowed by the 
Cross, or about our redemption by the Cross and Passion of 
Christ, seems foolishness to men who are sceptical and perverse, 
and therefore ready to perish. Isaiah, too, says this in the person 
of Christ : " Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath 
given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel " (Isa. viii. 18). See 
also Heb. ii. 13. 

Ver. 19. — For it is w?'itten. This is from Isa. xxix. 14, where, 
following the Hebrew, the verbs are intransitive. S. Paul quotes 
from the Septuagint, where the verbs are transitive, but the sense is the 
same. Note that Paul refers to the whole circle of worldly wisdom 
what the Prophet said of the wisdom of the Jews alone, which was 
Pharisaic. For both are alike in this connection, and the meaning 
is, " I will make men unwilling to use worldly wisdom for their 
salvation, but only the Gospel and the Cross of Christ." 

Ver. 20. — JVhere is the wise? The Gentile philosopher. 
JVhere is the scribe ? The Jewish doctor. S. Paul is quoting Isa. 
xxxiii. 18. 

Note, as the Greeks called their wise men philosophers, and 
the Chaldeans theirs magi, so the Jews called theirs sopharim, 
"scribes." " Scribes " is from the same root as "Scripture," and 
implies that they were occupied with the Holy Scriptures. Their 
duty, in fact, was to preserve the Holy Scriptures in their integrity, 
to carefully correct all transcripts, to interpret them by writing and 


by word of mouth, and to write out or state the answers they gave 
to questions about the Law. (Epiphan. hceres. i6). 

Where is tlu disputer if this world? The student of physical 
science who narrowly investigates the secrets of nature and the 
■world. In other words, philosophers and scribes have been cast 
aside, and all the wise of this world thrown down and put to 
confusion by the preaching of the Apostles, by the glory of the 
Gospel. (So S. Chrysostora.) 

Paul here and in the following verses is aiming at philosophers 
both ancient and modern, and not at such Christians as Dionysius 
the Areopagite, Hierotheus, Paul himself, Clement of Rome, 
Nathanael, Gamaliel, Apollos, as the Anabaptists seem to think. 
He has in his mind the Gentile teachers who at this very time 
were going round the world, like rivals to the Apostles, and under 
the garb of piety, wisdom, and eloquence were attempting to attract 
to themselves, and away from the Apostles, the various nations, as 
though they alone taught true wisdom, and the way to virtue, 
righteousness, and salvation ; as, e.g., Musonius, Dio, Epictetus, 
Damys, Diogenes Minor, Apollonius of Tyana, who was greatly 
looked up to by the Greeks at that time because of his mystic 
powers, and was given a statue at Ephesus, and placed among the 
gods. (Baronius, Annals, a.d. 75,) 

Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? I.e., has 
shown to be foolish : a manifestation of its true nature is described 
as if it were a change of its essence. It is foolish, he says, seen in 
the light of the Cross and of Christ and of salvation. The light 
of this knowledge requires faith, not subtlety. S. Ambrose says, 
" The knoivledge of fishermen has mads foolish the knowledge of 
fihlosophers," since it has surpassed their limits, and the limits of 

So, too, did God by His creative work show the folly of the 
saying of the philosophers, that "Out of nothing nothing comes," 
and that in consequence the universe was uncreate and eternal. So 
in His Incarnation did He show the folly of the saying, " God 
cannot be contained by a body, time, and place ; " and in Hfs 


Passion the saying, "God cannot suffer and die." So in the 
Eucharist He shows the foolishness of their principles and of those 
of our modern innovators who say, " An accident cannot exist 
without a subject; a body cannot be in a point; two bodies cannot 
be in the same place at the same time." For though these things 
are out of Nature's reach, yet they are not impossible to God, who 
is Omnipotent, and transcends all nature. 

S. Paulinus quotes this passage of S. Paul's in a letter (27) to 
Aper, who had been a lawyer and then had embraced the 
monastic life, and was, therefore, exposed to ridicule. From this 
he confirms him in his purpose, and shows him how to despise the 
laughter and sneers of men. '■^ I congratulate youj" he says, "on 
having scorned that wisdoin which is rejected of God, and on liaving 
preferred to have fellowship rather with Christ" s little ones than 
7uith the wise of the 7Vorld. It is from this that you have merited 
the grace from God of the hatred of men ; this tvould 7iot be had you 
not degufi to be a true follower of Christ.^' And a little lower, in 
showing the fruit and dignity of his purpose, he says, "Rejoice 
and be exceeding glad, for great is your rezvard i7i heaven ; for it is 
7iot you that they hate, but PIi?n who has begun to be in you, ivhose 
work is i?t you, whose humility they despise, whose holiness they loathe. 
Joyfully recog?iise yourself to be a sharer ifi this good witli Prophets 
and Apostles. From the beginning of the ivorld Christ has ever 
suffered and triumphed in His oivn : in Abel He zvas killed by His 
brother; i7i Noah He zvas 7nockcd by His so7i ; i7i Abraha7n He 
was a pilgri77i ; i7i Isaac He was offered up ; in Jacob He served ; i7i 
Joseph He was sold; in Moses exposed and forced to fee ; i7i the 
Prophets sto7ied and persecuted ; in the Apostles tossed about 071 sea 
and. Ia7id ; i7i His Martyrs often slain a7id in diffcrc7it ways. In 
you, too, He suffers reproaches, and this world hates Hii/i in you ; but 
thatiks be to Hi/n that He overco7iies when He is judged and triumphs 
in lis." Again, praising and admiring his change of life, he savs, 
" Where 7ioiv is tiie once feared advocate and fudge ? Would that 
I had wings to ply to you, to see you 710 longer yourself but cha7iged 
froTH a lion to a calf— to see Christ in Aper, who has 7iow laid aside 


his ferocity and strength, and become a lamb unto God ttistead of a 
7vild-boar of this world. For you are a boar, but of the cornfield, 
not of the forest ; you are rich in the good fruit of holy discipline, and 
h:ive fed yourself ivith the fruit of virtues.'' 

Vcr. 21. — For after that in the wisdom of God the world by 
wisdom knnv not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching 
to save them that believe. Mark the phrase, " in the wisdom of 
God." God shows His wisdom in the marvellous structure and 
government of the world, as S. Thomas says. In other words, the 
world in its foolishness knew not God practically in His wisdom 
stamped on His Creation, as the Author of its salvation, and 
Leader to a life of bliss; nor yet speculatively, because philosophers 
regarded God as powerless to create ; they thought Him to act 
under necessity, and to be void of providence, k.c. 

Hence it is that God has revealed Himself and His salvation 
to the world in a way which seems to the world foolishness, viz., 
by the Cross. He has thus stooped to men, and become as it were 
foolish among them ; just as a teacher will sometimes act as a boy, 
and talk as a boy, amongst boys. So Christ, because He was not 
understood as God, revealed Himself to men, as a man, and one 
liable to suffering. This is wisdom unspeakable. See S. Thomas, 
Anselm, and others. 

Ver. 2 2. — For the Jews require a sign . . . but we preach Christ 
crucified. A Theban, when asked what he thought of the Romans, 
said that " t'p.e Romans boasted themselves in their spears, the 
Greeks in their eloquence, the Thebans in their virtues." But the 
Apostle says that he and other Christians boast themselves in 
Christ crucified. This is our spear, our eloquence, and our virtue. 

Ver. 23. — Unto the Jews a stumbling-block, a?id unto the Greeks 
foolishness. Notice here, wi:h S. Chrysostom {Horn. iv. moral in 
loco, and above on ver. 17), that the power of the Cross shines forth 
not only in itself but also in its preaching : (i.) In the fact that the 
Apostles, few in number, simple fishermen, poor, unlearned, unknown, 
and Jews, in all these respects hateful to the world, yet brought the 
world into subjection to the Cross. (3.) In the fact that they sub- 


dued most bitter enemies, demons, sin, deatli, hell, kings, princes, 
philosophers, orators, Greeks, barbarians, laws, judgments, long- 
existing religions, and time-honoured traditions. (3.) In that they 
persuaded men by simple preaching, and not by arms, wisdom, or 
eloquence. (4.) In that in so short a time they spread the faith of 
Christ over the whole world. (5.) In that by the grace of Christ they 
overcame most cheerfully and courageously what is hardest to be 
borne by the natural strength of man, the threats of tyrants, scourg- 
ings, deaths, and tortures. (6.) In that they preached a doctrine not 
about a glorious God, but a crucified One, and Him their Saviour to 
be believed in and adored ; and a law of Christ displeasing to 
nature and flesh. Wherefore Tertullian {lib. co7itra Jud.) beauti- 
fully and fitly compares the Kingdom of Christ wiih the kingdoms 
of all kings and people, and prefers it before them all : " Solomon," 
he says, ^^ reigned, but only in the borders of JudcBa fro7n Dati to 
Beersheba : Darius reigned over the Babylofiiatts and Farthians, but 
not further ; Pharaoh reigned over the Egyptians, but over the/n only. 
The Imigdom of Nebuchadnezzar stretched only from India to 
Ethiopia. Alexander of Macedon, after subduing all Asia and other 
countries, could not keep ivhat he had co7iquered. So have the Germans, 
Britons, Aloors, and Rojnans boufids set to thdr dominions. But 
the kingdom of Christ has reached to all parts. His tiame is believed 
on everywhere, is zvorshipped by all natiotts, everywhere reigns, is 
everywhere adored ; He is equal to all, Ki fig over all, Judge over all, 
God and Lord of all." 

Ver. 25. — Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the 
weakness of God is stronger thati men. That is, say Ambrose and 
Anselm, the foolishness and weakness of God, or what men think is 
foolishness and weakness in God and in Christ incarnate and suffer- 
ing, as e.g., His humanity, mortality, Passion and Cross, was just 
that by which Christ, when seemingly conquered, yet most wisely 
and most powerfully conquered men, Satan, and the whole world. 
In other words, God's wisdom and power were most plainly seen in 
His overcoming all wisdom and strength by what was foolish and 
weak, viz., the Cross. And therefore Jerome and S. Augustine 

VOL. I, B 


explain ihe passage of Habakkuk (iii. 4) " ^^^ had horns coming out 
of His hands;' thus : The strength and weapons by which, as by horns, 
Christ slew His foes were the amis of the Cross to which the hands of 
Christ were nailed. Hence it is that the Cross in the sky appeared 
to Constantine the Great as he was going to battle against Max- 
entius, with the inscription, " In this sign thou shalt conquer " 
(Kuseb., Life of Constantine, ///a i. c. 22). 

Literally and morally the power and wisdom of the Cross are seen 
(i.) in that on the Cross God showed His supreme love to us, that so 
He might draw us to Him ; for God, under no necessity, with no 
prospect of advantage to Himself, of His own will stooped to the 
Cross from love of man, solely. This He yet did with such wisdom 
that no damage was done by it to the loftiness and glory of His 
Godhead ; for the Godhead in Him suffered nothing, but He bore 
all His suffering in the Manhood which He had assumetl. (2.) In that 
on the Cross He redeemed man, not by the power of His Godhead, 
but throu2:h the ricrhteousness and humility of His Passion, as S 
Augustine says. (3.) In that on the Cross He set before us a most 
perfect example of obedience, constancy, endurance of punishment, 
patience, fortitude, and all virtues, as well as mortification of vices. 
(4.) In that on the Cross He condemned the wisdom and pride 
of the world, and gave to man, who had fallen through pride and 
self-indulgence, a mirror of life, viz., a mode of recovery through 
humility and the Cross. (See also S. Thomas. 3, p. qu. 46, art. 3 and 
4, and S. Augustine, De Trin. lib. xiii. c. 12.) 

S. Bernard, in his exhortation to the Soldiers of the Temple (c. 11), 
says : " The weakness of Christ ivas no less beneficial to us than His 
majesty ; for although the poiver of His Godhead ordered the removal 
of the yoke of sin, yet the iveahiess of His flesh destroyed by death the 
rights of death over man. And therefore the Apostle beautifully says : 
' The weakness of God is stronger than men. ' But His foolishness by 
which He was pleased to save the world, so as to co7fute the wisdom 
of the world, and to confound the wise ; ivhich tnade Hitn, though He 
was in the form of God and equal to God, empty Himself, and take 
upon Him the for tn of a servant; by which, though he was rich, He 


yet for our sake became poor, though He was great He became little, 
though He 7vas high yet He becatne humbled, though He was powerful 
He became weak ; through which He hungered, thirsted, and was 
7veary 07i the jotirney, and suffered all that His own will and no 
necessity laid upon Him ; this foolishness of His, was it not to us the 
7t'av of prudence, the form of rigliteousness, the example of holi?iess? 
Therefore the Apostle also adds, ' The foolishness of God is iviser than 
men.^ Death then set us free from death, life from error, grace from 
sin. And truly His death ivon the victory through His righteoustiess ; 
because the Just One, by paying what he never took, rightly recovered 
all that He had lost." 

Hence it is that Francis and the greatest Saints have sought to be 
considered foolish by the world, in order that they might the rather 
please God. Some religious Orders, indeed, so regard this as the 
height of perfection and Christian wisdom that they enjoin their 
members to love, desire, and embrace contempt, ridicule, insults, and 
injuries, and to long to be considered fools, just as eagerly as worldly 
men seek for a reputation for wisdom, for honour, and renown. 
They do this to teach them in this way (i.) to utterly despise the 
world ; (2.) to humiliate themselves and uproot their innate desire of 
honour, praise, glory, and high position ; (3.) to be more like Christ, 
and to clothe themselves with His garments and His marks, who 
for our sakes, and to give us an example of virtue and perfection, 
chose these things Himself, willed to be considered foolish, and 
became a scorn of men, and the outcast of the people. They say, 
therefore, with S, Paul, " God forbid that I should glory save in the 
Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to 
me and I to the world." 

All this does the Cross of Christ teach if you often meditate on it ; 
nay, the Cross is the fount of wisdom. S. Bonaventura, when asked 
where he had drunk in so much wisdom, showed a crucifix almost 
worn away by kisses. S. Jacoponus, a man of good birth and of 
great learning, after having learned from the Cross of Christ to 
become foolish to the world, was asked by Christ, who appeared to 
him in a friendly and familiar way, why he was so enamoured of 


ihis foolishness, and he answered with his customary pious pleasantry, 
"Because Thou, Lord, hast been more foolish than I." In short, 
S. Chrysostom {Horn. 4 on the Cross and the Robber) sums up the 
power and praise of the Cross as follows : " If you wish to kfww the 
power of the Cross, and what I have to say in its praise, listen : The 
Cross is the hope of Christians, the resurrection of the dead, the way of 
them that despair, the staff of the lame, the consolation of the poor, the 
curb of the rich, the destruction of the proud, the punishment of them 
that live badly, victory over the demons, subjugation of the devil the 
instructor of the young, nourishment of the needy, hope of the hopeless, 
the rudder of seafarers, haven to the storm-tost, wall to the besieged, 
father of the fatherless, defender of widows, counsellor of the just, rest 
to the weary, guardian of little ones, head of men, ejid of the aged, light 
to them that sit in darkness, the magnificence of kings, an everlasting 
shield, wisdofn of the foolish, liberty to the slaves, a philosophy for 
kings, law to the lawless, the boast of tnartyrs, the self-denial of 
monks, the chastity of virgins, the joy of priests, the foundation of the 
Church, the destruction of temples, the rejection of idols, a stumbling- 
block to the Jews, perdition to the ungodly, strength to the weak, phy- 
sician to the sick, bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothing 
to the naked.'' 

Ver. 26. — For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many 
wise men after the flesh, not fna?iy ?nighty, ?iot many noble are called. 
The for gives the reason of what had gone before. This verse 
contains another proof of what was said in ver. 21, '■'■ It pleased 
God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe " 
For this is proved in two ways: (i.) in ver. 23, from the 
object of preaching, viz., the Cross, by which God was pleased 
to save the vporkl, but which to the world seems foolishness ; 
(2.) from the ministers of preaching, viz., the Apostles, whose 
duty it was to preach salvation through the Cross, and who were 
men of no account, unpolished, despised, and foolish in the eyes 
of the world. 

Again, the particle yi?r fitly joins this verse to the preceding; ver. 
25 gives an indefinite and general statement which is true, not only 


of the Cross, but also of the preachers of the Cross, as Athanasius 
points out {Ad Antiockum, qu. 129). 

This particle, then, declares the likeness of the Apostles to the 
Cross that they preached. It is as if S. Paul had said : God willed 
to use the foolishness and weakness of the Cross, and with it to 
overcome and subdue to Himself the wisdom and power of all men; 
and we see this, not only in the Cross itself, and its victory, but 
also in the Apostles who preach the Cross : for God has not chosen 
the wise and powerful of this world, but the Apostles, who are poor, 
simple, and foolish in the eyes of the world, that they might carry 
the banner of the Cross on high throughout the whole world, and 
bring all men into obedience to the faith of the Cross, and that 
they all might believe and hope for their righteousness and salva- 
tion through the Cross of Christ. 

It is a reason drawn from likeness or analogy. For such as the 
Cross was — worthless, despicable, and foolish before the world — such 
should be all preachers of the Cross. For God in His wonderful 
wisdom has so well adapted everything to the Cross, which is the 
burden of all preaching, that not only the preachers but believers 
too should be like the Cross ; for the first who were called to the 
faith were men of low birth, of no reputation, unknown, sinners, 
publicans, and harlots. 

Ye see your calling. The reason and mode of your calling. 
Because the Apostles who called you are not wise, according to 
this world's wisdom, which knows not that which is spiritual and 
Divine. So S. Thomas applies the words to the Apostles, who 
called others. S. Chrysostom, however, applies them and rightly 
(from ver. 2) to those who had been called and converted; for 
many unlearned had been converted to Christ, and but few who 
were learned and nobly born. The words, then, mean : Ye see of 
what kind are both callers and called. 

Some wise and powerful, of course, were called, as, e.g., Dionysius 
the Areopagite, Paulus the Proconsul, Nicodemus, S. Paul himself, 
but they were few. Moreover, the Apostle is speaking mainly of 
the Apostles, who were the first called, though they were poor and 


of no reputation. And therefore S. Ambrose (on S. Luke, c. vi. 13), 
says : " See the counsel of God. JJe chose not the wise, the rich, the 
noble, but fishermen and publicans to train, that He might not be 
thought to have drawn any to His grace by His wisdom, to have 
redeemed us by His riches, to have won us to Hiyn by the influence of 
p07ver or birth ; and that so, ?iot love of disputation, but truth by its 
reasonableness might prevail^ S. Augustine (vol. x. Serm. 59) says, 
"Great is the mercy of our Maker. He knew that if the Senator 
were chosen, he would say, 'I was chosen because of my rank.' 
If the rich man were chosen, he would say, * I was chosen for my 
wealth.' If a king, he would put it down to his power; if an 
orator, to his eloquence; if a j^hilosopher, to his wisdom. * For 
the present,' says the Lord, ' those proud men must be rejected : 
they are too haughty. Give Me first that fisherman. Come, poor 
man. You have nothing, you know nothing ; follow Me. The 
empty vessel must be brought to the plentiful stream.' The fisher- 
man let down his nets ; he received grace, and became a Divine 
orator. Now while the words of the fishermen are read, orators 
bow their heads in reverence." It seems, therefore, that what 
some fable about the royal birth and renown of the Apostle 
Bartholomew is groundless. 

Ver. 27. — But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to 
coif ou7id the wise. The words "foolish, weak, base," form a climax, 
and are used by S. Paul to describe the faithful who had been called 
to Christ, or rather the Apostles themselves, who had called them. 
He contrasts them as uncultivated, poor, base, and hence foolish in 
the eyes of the world, and the world's laughing-stock, with the wise, 
strong, and powerful of the world. 

Thifigs which arc not. This is applied to the same persons as 
being contemptible and reckoned of no account. In other words, 
God chose the despised Apostles, wiio were thought nothing of, 
that He might destroy, and, as it were, brifig to nought things that 
are, i.e., which are highly esteemed, as e.g., the wise and mighty 
of the world. 

Observe that three things which the world is wont to admire, viz., 


wisdom, power, and birth, were passed over by God when He called 
men to faith, righteousness, and salvation ; and on the other hand 
that three things opposite to these were chosen by Him, viz., want 
of wisdom, of power, and of birth. This was done to show that the 
work was from God, and that this calling was to be ascribed to the 
t;race of God, and not to human excellence. Thus, in the second 
ceniury after the Apostles, He chose Agnes, a maiden of thirteen 
years, who amazed and confounded her judges and all the heathen 
who saw her by her wonderful fortitude. Well, therefore, does the 
Collect for her day run: '■'■Almighty and everlasting God, who 
choosest the zvcak things of the world to confound the strong, tncrci- 
fully gra?it that we who keep the Feast of Thy Virgin and Martyr 
S. Agnes, may receive the fruit of her prayers." Such too were SS. 
Agatha, Lucy, Dorothy, Barbara, and a countless number of others 
whom God seems to have raised up to show the power of His grace 
in their weakness. Therefore in their Collect the Church prays : 
" O God, who, amongst other marvels of Thy poiver, hast also con- 
ferred upon feeble women the victory of martrydom, mercifully grant 
that we, who keep the ' birthday ' of Thy blessed Virgin and Martyr, 
N^., 7nay by her example come to Thee." 

Ver. 30. — But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus. By the gift of God 
Himself, by His grace, were ye called to believe in Christ. So 
Anselm. To be in Christ is to have been incorporated with Him in 
Baptism, or to be in the Church of Christ, and in Christianity. 

Who of God is made unto 2is wisdom and righteousness and saftcti- 
fication and redemption. This righteousness, say our modern inno- 
vators, is imputed, because it is ours, not substantially and inherently, 
but is merely the external righteousness of Christ imputed to us ; 
before God we seem righteous. But I reply : If this be true, then 
in the same way the active redemption wrought by Christ, which 
S. Paul here joins with righteousness, will be imputed to us, and 
consequently we shall be redeemers of ourselves, which is absurd. 
In the second place, wisdom is infused into us, and so is faith, and 
so therefore is righteousness; for the Apostle classes together the 
righteousness and wisdom of Christ as both alike ours. 


I say, then, with Chrysostom, Theophylact, Anselm, Ambrose, 
and S. Thomas, that the sense of this passage is this : Christ is made 
unto us the author and cause of real Christian wisdom, redemption, 
sanctification, and righteousness. 

I. By wav of satisfaction and meritoriously; and this is what the 
Apostle specially has in his mind here : because Christ paid man's 
debt with the most precious price of His own Blood, and so made 
satisfaction for man, and merited for us righteousness, wisdom, and 
sanctification. In this way He was made for us righteousness, 
because the righteousness, i.e., the satisfaction of Christ, is ours, just 
as much as if we had ourselves made satisfaction to God. And hence 
it is that theologians teach that the satisfaction of Christ is applied 
to us in justification through the Sacraments, as if naturally first, and 
that then as a natural consequence our sins are forgiven through 
that satisfaction, and grace is infused. This condemns the error of 
Peter Abelard, in which he is followed by the Socinians, who teach 
that Christ was the teacher of tlie world, not its redeemer — nay more, 
that He was sent by the Father to give to man an example of perfect 
virtue, but not to free him from sin or to redeem him. S. Bernard 
refutes this in Ep. 190, to Pope Innocent, where he says: " Christ 
is the end of the laiv to every one that believeth. In short, S. Paul 
says that He was tnade to us righteousness by God the Father. Is 
not then that righteousness mine which was made for me ? If my 
guilt is brought against me, why am I not given the befieft of my 
righteousness ? And indeed tvhat is given me is safer than what is 
innate. For this has zvhereof it may glory, but not before God. 
But the former, since it is effectual to salvation, has no ground of 
glorying, except in the lord. * For if I be righteous, yet will I 
not lift up my head,'' says Job, lest the answer cotne, ' What hast 
thou that thou didst not receive ? But if thou didst receive it, why dost 
thou glory as if thou hast not received it ? ' This is the righteousness 
of man in the blood of his Redeemer, which Abelard, that man of 
perdition, scoffs attd sneers at, and so tries to empty of its force, that 
he holds and argues that all that the Lord of Glory did in emptying 
Himself . . . in suffering indignities . . . is to be reduced to this. 


that it was all done that lie tnight by His life and teaching give 
to man a rule of life, and by His suffering and death set up a goal 
of charity." Abelard's argument was fallacious and frivolous : the 
devil, he said, had no right over man ; therefore man needed 
no liberator The premiss is doubtless true when understood of 
lawful right, but not of usurped right, under which man through 
sin by his own free will had submitted himself to the power of the 
devil, of sin, and of hell. 

2. By way of example ; because the righteousness of Christ is the 
most perfect example, to which all our righteousness ought to be 
conformed. In this sense S. Paul's meaning is, Christ is an example 
and mirror of righteousness. 

3. Efficiently; because Christ effects and produces this right- 
eousness in us through His Sacraments, and because He teaches 
the Saints true wisdom and understanding; as, e.g., how to live a 
good and Christian life, by what road to attain to heaven, and how 
we must strive after bliss. 

4. As our end ; because Christ Himself and His glory are the 
end of our righteousness and sanctification. S. Bernard, in his 
22nd Sermon on the Canticles, deals with these four, wisdom, 
righteousness, sanctif cation, redemption, symbolically. In the first 
place, he adapts them to the four works of Christ. He says, " Christ 
was made for us wisdom in His preaching, righteousness in the 
forgiveness of our sins, sanctification in the life that He spent with 
sinners, redemption in the sufferings that He bore for sinners." And 
asain further on he sa\s, " Christ zvas ?nade for us bv God wisdom 
by teaching prude7ice, righteousness by forgiving us our trespasses, 
sanctification by the example He set of temperance and of chaste life, 
redemption by the example He left of patience and of fortitude in 
dying. Where, I ask, is true wisdom, except in the teaching of Christ ? 
Whence comes true righteousness but from the mercy of Christ 1 
Where is there true temperance but in the life of Christ 1 Where 
true fortitude save in the Passion of Christ V 

In the second place, S. Bernard naturally adapts these four to 
the four cardinal virtues, prudence, justice, temperance and forti- 


tudc, which Christ imparts to us. He goes on to say: ''Only 
those, then, who have been imbued with His doctrine are to be called 
prudent ; only those, who by His mercy have obtained forgiveness of 
their sins, are to be called righteous ; only those are to be called 
temperate who strive to imitate His life ; only those are to be called 
brave who bravely bear adversity and shoiv patience like His. In 
vain surely does any one strive to acquire virtues, if he thinks that 
they are to be obtained from any other source but the Lord of virtues, 
whose teaching is the school of prudence, whose mercy the working of 
righteous7iess, whose life the mirror of temperance, whose death 
the pattern of fo7-titude." 

Ver. 31. — That, according as it is written. He that glorieth, let 
him glory in the Lord. He is quoting not the words but the sense 
of Jeremiah ix. 23. So Ambrose, Theophylact, Anselm, St. Thomas. 
In Jeremiah the passage runs : " Thus saith the Lord, Let not the 
wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory 
in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches, but let him 
that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me." 
This it is to glory in the Lord. Jeremiah is speaking of liberation 
from the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, and from slaughter by the Chal- 
deans, which were then threatening the Jews. In other words, then, 
he says : The Jews glory in the counsels of their wise men, in the 
strength of their soldier?, in the riches of Jerusalem, as though these 
would make them secure against the Chaldeans ; but they err, for 
their true glory is to know and understand God, that is, His Provi- 
dence, and that it is He alone who worketh mercy, and mercifully 
sets free whom He will, and not the wisdom, might, or riches of 
man. Moreover, He alone inflicts just punishment on whom He 
will, and no wise, mighty, or rich man can set free from this — even 
as, O Jews, He will inflict it on you, and will bring it to pass, that 
death (that is, the Chaldeans, shall bring death upon you) shall 
climb up into your houses, througli your windows, and slay all your 
little ones. 

The Apostle rightly adapts this in this passage to those who were 
calling others, or who had been called into Christianity, that no one 


may attribute the grace of Christ to himself, his virtues, or the gifts 
of nature, but only to Christ, and consequently his tacit exhortation 
is: "Do not, O Corinthians, glory in yourselves, or in Paul, or in 
ApoUos, your teachers, but in the Lord alone." For this is what in 
the beginning he proposed to prove, and therefore all that is here 
said must be referred to it. Ai.selm says : " That man glories in 
the Lord only who knoivs that it is ?wt of himself, but of Him, not 
only that he is, but also that it is well with him." Again, that man 
glories in the Lord who, if he has anything which makes him pleas- 
ing to God, holds that he has received it, not because of his own 
wisdom, power, good works, talent, or merits, but merely through 
the grace of God. Thirdly, he who in all that he does seeks not 
his own glory, but that of the Lord. 

S. Bernard wrote a noteworthy sermon on these words of the 
Apostle; see also Sermon 25 on Canticles. He says : ^^ Moreover, 
the whole glorying of the Saints is within and not without, that is, not 
in the flower of grass, or the mouth of the vulgar, but ifi the Lord ; for 
God alone is the sole Judge of their conscience, LLini alone they desire 
to please, and to please Llim is their only real and chief glory." And 
Sermon 13 on Canticles: '•'' Bf-others, let none of you desire to be 
praised in this life. For whatever favour you gain for yourselves 
here which you do fiot refer to LLim, you steal from IJim. For 
whence, thou dust that perishest, whence comes thy glory ? " And in 
his Sentences : ' ' The /Apostle knew that glory properly belo?igs to the 
Creator, and not to the creature. But he also knew that the rational 
creature so seeks after glory that it can scarcely or perhaps never 
overcome this desire, just because it 7vas tnade in the image of the 
Creator. Therefore he gave most wholesome advice when he said : 
' Sitice you cannot be persicaded ?iot to glory, let him that glorieth 
glory in the Lordi"' Let us, too, say in company w^ith the Psalmist, 
*• Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give the 
praise," and with the four and twenty elders who cast their crowns 
before the throne, " Blessing and honour and glory and power be 
unto Him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb for ever 
and ever" (Rev. v. 13). 


Jh declareth that his preaching, I though it bring not excellency of speech, or of 
4 human ivisdoi/i : yet consisteth in the 4, 5 poiver of God : and so far excelleth 
6 the wisdom of this world, and 9 human sense, as that 14 the natural man 
cannot understand it. 

AND I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or 
. of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 

2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and 
him crucified. 

3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 

4 And my speech and my preaching u>as not with enticing words of man's 
wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power : 

5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power 
of God. 

6 Ilowbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect : yet not the wisdom 
of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought : 

7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, 
wliich God ordained before the world unto our glory : 

8 Which none of the princes of this world knew : for had they known it, they 
would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered 
into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that 
love him. 

10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit : for the Spirit searcheth 
all things, yea, the deep things of God. 

1 1 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man 
which is in him ? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of 

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which 
is of God ; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom 
Icacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth ; comparing spiritual things with 

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God : for they 
are foolishness unto him : neitlier can he know them, because they are spiritually 

15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of 
no man. 

16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? 
But we have the mind of Christ. 




He proceeds to exalt the spiritual wisdom of Christ above all natural and animal 
wisdom. Therefore he says : — 

i. That he knew and preached nothing but Christ crucified ; and that not 

with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the 

Spirit and of power. 
ii. Nevertheless in ver. 5 he says that he speaks wisdom among them that 

are perfect, wisdom liidden from the world, which eye hath not seen 

nor ear heard, but which the Spirit of God alone has revealed, 
iii. He shows in ver. 14 that the natural man does not perceive the things 

which are of God, but the spiritual man perceives and judges all 


Ver. I. — And /, bret/ireii, when I came to you, came fioi with 
excellency of speech or of wisdom. The Apostle here descends from 
the general to the particular. In other words : I said in the pre- 
ceding chapter that God in preaching the Gospel willed not to use 
the wisdom of the wise in this world, but rejected it and scorned it, 
but willed by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe ; 
and therefore He chose not many noble or wise to spread the Gospel, 
but the low-born and untaught Apostles. From this I infer and say 
'■'■ And /;" /.(?., and so I as one of the number of the Apostles, who, 
according to the election and will of God, did not use eloquence 
and worldly wisdom, was unwilling to use those means, and I came 
to you not in excellency but in simplicity of speech and wisdom. 

Ver. 2. — For I deter mified not to know anything a?nong you save 
Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Mark the word determijied : it is 
as if he said, I did not think of, I did not value any knowledge save 
that which is of Jesus crucified, our Saviour, and, therefore, I so 
bore myself among you, as if I knew nothing of human wisdom, 
although I have much acquaintance with it, for on other occasions 
I can quote the Greek poets ; but with you I kept it back, that like 
the others I might merely preach with all simplicity Christ crucified. 
Not that I did not preach the other mysteries of the faith, but I 
especially taught you and impressed on you that we must glory in 
the Cross of Christ only, and hope from it for our righteousness and 
salvation, and, as Anselm says, must imitate the cross and crucify 


our vices. For in Christ crucified it is easy to see, besides other 
things, that Christ chose and embraced these three, viz., utmost 
I)ain, the greatest poverty or nakedness, and the lowest depths of 
shame. Christ by His pains crucified and taught us to crucify the 
lust of tlie flesh; by His poverty He crucified the lust of the 
eyes or avarice ; and by His shame He crucified the pride of life. 
These are the tliree heads of the world's sin, and the sources of all 
sins. (See i S. John ii. i6, and what was said about the Cross in 
c. i. 23). 

Ver. 3. — And I was with you in weakness : that is, in anxieties, 
tribulation, and persecution ; afid in fear and much trembling, because 
of the hostility of the persecuting Jews and Gentiles. S. Chrysostom 
and Anselm remark that the Apostle in his Second Epistle (xi. 30 
and xii, 5, 9, 10), and elsewhere, gives the name of weakness to the 
anxiety he suffered from dangers, plots, exile, daily terrors, calumnies, 
and hatreds. And also, that Paul suffered great anxieties and per- 
secutions at Corinth, is evident in that he needed to be strengthened 
against them by Christ in a vision (Acts xviii. 9). Moreover, shortly 
afterwards the Jews there stirred up a tumult against Paul, and 
dragged him to the judgment-seat of Gallio, the deputy of Achaia, 
and publicly beat Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, before 

\'er. 4. — And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing 
words ofrnan^s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. 
Speech (Aoyos) denotes his private and familiar conversation as 
contrasted with his public preaching. S. Thomas and the Glossa 
distinguished the two words in this way ; so does Seneca, who, in Ep. 
38, says : " Conversation, because it makes an impression on the mind 
by little and little, is of immense foixe. Speeches prepared and delivered 
to a large assembly have ?Jiore vehemence but less familiarity." S. Paul's 
conversation, then, as well as his preaching, was ?iot 7uith enticingwords 
{i.e., apt to persuade) of man's wisdom. In such the orators and 
philosophers at Corinth surpassed S. Paul. Paul, however, had to 
make the Corinthians believe a new philosophy by a new mode of 
.speech and action, and in this he excelled all orators and philo- 


sophers, viz., in demonstration of the Spirit and of poiver. So 
Sulpicius testifies that S. Martin once said that "the kingdom is not 
founded on eloquence but on faith." S. Augustine, too, in his 
Sermon i, about those coming to grace, says : " ]Ve do not try to 
persuade you with thicndering words and fiowery phrases, nor by any 
rhetorical sidll, nor by eloquence darkened by set speeches such as the 
world uses, but we preach Christ crucified." And in lib. ii. c. ii., against 
Felicianus, he says : "/ will never rely on wisdom of words, lest the 
Cross of Christ be shorn of its poiver ; but I am content to rely on the 
authority of the Scriptures, and I am more anxious to obey sinplicity 
than presumption. " 

This, then, was the demonstration of the Apostles, viz., to show 
(i.) burning zeal and a spirit giving forth wisdom and revealing 
secrets, not human but Divine, so that the hearers might perceive 
plainly that the Holy Spirit was speaking by their mouth ; (2.) great 
powers, that is prodigies and miracles. Therefore Origen {lib. i. contra 
Celsum) says : " Our mode of teaching has its own proper demonstra- 
tion, which is more Divine tha?i that of the Greeks, attd 7vhich is called 
by the Apostle, '■the demonstration of the Spirit and of poiver. '' The 
Spirit lends faith to those things which are said about Christ in the 
Prophets ; and the poiver is seen iti the miracles which we believe to have 
been wrought:^ Origen here understands the work of the Spirit some- 
what differently, but his explanation is not so much to the point as the 
one given above. For, as CEcumenius says, " The demonstration which 
comes by works and sigfis is surer than that which depends on words." 
This was the Apostolical mode of preaching, and a far more effectual 
way than that which modern preachers put before themselves for imi- 
tation. Their style was not adorned, clouded over, and tainted with 
enticing words of man's wisdom, but was in demonstration of the Spirit 
and of power. So will Apostolic men go forth, and their words, like 
fiery arrows, will pierce men's hearts, and like hammers break in 
pieces the rocks. Listen to S. Jerome {Ep. ii. to Nepotiaims) : '■'■Let 
not the applause of the congregation be aroused by your teaching in 
church, but their groanings. Let the tears of the hearers be the proofs 
of your success." This spirit, as well as the fruit of preaching, must 


be obtained by prayer to God. Hence Origen {contra Celsum, lib. vi.), 
in quoting these same words of the Apostle, says : " What else is the 
meaning of these words but that it is not enough that ivhat we say is 
true and Jit to stir the hearts of men 1 the teacher must have a certain 
power given him from above, and his tvords require the energy of Divine 
grace, as David says, ' The Lord shall give the word to those that preach 
with much power'" (Ps. Ixvii. Vulg.). 

Ver. 5. That your faith should fiot stand in the wisdom of men but 

in the power of God. Our preaching is to be of the kind just men- 
tioned, so that your faith, i.e., your conversion to the faith of Christ, 
may not be attributed to human wisdom and eloquence but to the 
power and working of God. Your faith must be based on God's 
wisdom not on man's. {Anselm and others.) 

Ver. 6. — Howbeit we speak wisdom amofig them that are perfect. 
This wisdom that he speaks among the perfect, that is, the faithful, 
is Christian wisdom, and is concerned with the Cross of Christ, with 
grace, salvation, and the eternal glory won for us by Christ. And 
although the " faithful " are simple, yet in the things which belong 
to salvation they are wiser than Aristotle or any other philosopher. 
So S. Chrysostom and Anselm. Moreover, those who have not 
only been born again by baptism, but also confirmed by the Sacra- 
ment of Confirmation, have obtained the Christian perfection, and 
are perfectly made Christians. For this reason S. Dionysius and 
others call the Sacrament of Confirmation "the perfecting," and 
they call those confirmed "the perfected." Irensus implies the 
same {lib. v. c. 6), when lie says : " We speak wisdom among them 
that are perfect, that is, those who have received the Holy Spirit, and 
by that Spirit speak all tongues just as S. Paul did." 

Secondly and more simply, wisdom here denotes the more hidden 
and deeper mysteries of the faith, such as the Resurrection, Anti- 
Christ, Reprobation, Predestination; or a more profound and thorough 
explanation of the things of faith, such as the mode, counsel, and 
end of the Incarnation, Passion, and Redemption of Christ; for 
so S. Paul explains wisdom in the verses immediately following. 
He does not speak and discourse of this wisdom to beginners. 


but to those who have advanced and are perfected. Hence in 
ver. 15, he calls the perfect "spiritual," and contrasts them with 
the natural man, with children and carnal men. He is here im- 
pressing on them that, though he may seem to have no human 
wisdom, yet he has Divine ; that although he has given to them, 
as to children, milk, that is, simple and easy teaching (iii. 2), yet 
amongst the perfect he speaks of hidden and Divine wisdom. 

The Apostle by these words defends his authority over the 
Corinthians, who, after hearing ApoUos, an eloquent and learned 
speaker, seemed to hold S. Paul in little esteem, as a speaker 
without eloquence or skill. 

Yet not the wisdom of this zvorld, fior of the prifices of this world. 
Anselm, Ambrose, Cajetan, and others understand the devils by 
the princes of this world, inasmuch as they have their power over 
the air, the ungodly, and the children of this world. And they prove 
from here that the devil, before the Passion of Christ, although he 
knew that Christ was God, yet did not know that by His death his 
own empire was to be destroyed, and men redeemed (ver. 8). This 
is true, but it is truer still when understood of men. 

Secondly, S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Anselm, TertuUian {contra 
Alarcion, lib. iii. c. 6), Origen {Cant. l\om. 2) understand by the 
prifices of tiiis world the leaders who excel their fellows in wisdom, 
wealth, or power. And therefore S. Paul adds, that come to ?iought, 
i.e., are done away with, pass by, disappear. These, too, crucified 
Christ (ver. 8). Such were Pilate, Herod, Annas, Caiaphas, and the 
other princes of the Jews and Gentiles. 

Ver. 7. — But 7ve speak the wisdom of God in a mystery. ( i . ) This is 
a Hebraism for "the wisdom of the mystery," that great secret of the 
Divine counsel, about the Incarnation of the Word, and the redemp- 
tion of man by Christ, which cannot be attained to by man by any 
effort of reason — no, nor yet by the angels, as is clear from Eph. v. 4, 5. 
Hence, in i Tim. iii. 16, this wisdom of the mystery is called the 
great mystery of godliness. So Theophylact, Ambrose, CEcumenius, 
commenting on this verse, and Jerome and Leo Gastrins on Isa. 
Ixiv; also S. Leo. (2.) We may understand this wisdom to be con- 

VOL. I. C 


cerned wiih the greatness of the glory of the Blessed, for this was 
the end of the Incarnation and suffering of the Word. 

Secondly, it is simpler to connect the words " in a mystery " with 
" we speak " rather than with " wisdom." Then the meaning is, we 
speak secretly and to a few, viz., those who are perfect, the spiritual, 
of this deeper and more hidden wisdom. Hence Ephrem and 
Tertullian render the passage : " We speak of the wisdom of God 
in secret." Hence also S. Dionysius and others have written books 
on mystic theology. 

Ver. 8. — Which none of the pri7ices of this world knew. The 
pronoun is better referred to glory than to wisdom, and the sense 
is : if this wisdom, or rather this glory and its being predestined in 
Christ, had been known by Pilate, Annas, Caiaphas, and the other 
princes of the world, they would never have crucified the Lord of 
Glory, viz., Christ, by whose merits this eternal glory was predestined 
and prepared for us from eternity. Gabriel Vasquez comments well 
on this passage {lib. i. disp. 2, c. 3). The Apostle tacitly implies 
that none other of the princes of this world knew this glory and 
wisdom of Christ. For, a fortiori^ tlie Jews were wiser than the 
Gentiles, especially in Divine things ; if, therefore, they did not know 
it, much more were the others ignorant of it. 

Ver. 9. — But, as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, 
neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath 
prepared for them that love Him. After " but " there is an ecthlipsis, 
and we must supply, "this wisdom and the glory which was its end 
were hidden from them," as it is written, &c. He then quotes Isaiah 
l.xiv. 4. 

1. Isaiah, in the passage quoted, is speaking of the Incarnation 
of Christ and of this present life. And hence Chrysostom, 
Ambrose, Theophylact, CEcumenius take this verse of the miracles 
of Christ, and of the wisdom, virtues, and grace which Christ by 
living here on earth has imparted to us. 

2. It is more agreeable to the context to say that Isaiah seems to 
fly away in admiration from the Incarnation and manhood of Christ 
to the celestial glory, which is the fruit and end of the Incarnation 


of Christ ; for such flights and sudden changes are common with 
the Prophets, because of the sublime and ample light of prophecy 
which they enjoyed. 

This appears from tlie words used ; as, e.g., " Iliin that waiteth for 
him,^^ and " Thou meetest him that worketh righteousness.^'' He is 
speaking then of the fruit of the works of the just, viz., the eternal 
life which we wait for; for the fruit of the Incarnation and faith 
does not meet them that work righteousness, but those that are 
sitting in darkness and sin. So says S. Jerome (in Isa. Ixiv.), 
S. Dionysius {De Ccelest. Ilierarch. 12), and Vasquez, in the pas- 
sage above quoted. Hence S. Bernard {Serm. 4 on the Vigil of the 
A'ativity) says: ^^ Eye hath not seen that unapproachable light, ear 
hath not heard that iticomprehensible peace. . . . And why is it 
that it has not ascefided into the heart of man ? Surely because it is a 
spring and cannot ascetid. For we hioiv that the nature of springs is 
to seek the rivers in the valleys, and to shun the tops of the mountains ; 
for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." 

S. Augustine, in his "Meditations," ch. 22 et seqq., and "Soliloquies," 
ch. 35 and },(}, discourses most beautifully about the greatness of 
this bliss. The author too of the book on "The Spirit and the 
Soul" (which is found in vol. iii. ch. 36 of S. Augustine's works), 
very appropriately says on this passage of the Apostle : " As the 
outward man is affected by temporal things through his five senses, so 
the ifiward man, in the life of bliss, is affected by the five ineffable 
attributes of God through his ineffable love for Him. For ivhen he shall 
love his God, He will knoiv him as a certain light, a voice, a siveet 
odour, a food, and an inward embrace. For there shines the light 
which no place can contain ; there sounds the music 7C'hich no time steals 
aivay ; there is the sweet odour ivhich 710 wind can scatter ; there is 
the food which is eaten and yet undiminished ; there clings to us the 
good which knows no satiety ; there is God seen withojit intermission, 
known without error, loved without disgust, and praised zvithout 

These words of the Apostle were once the occasion of the con- 
version of S. Adrian, and made him a martyr. He was a soldier 


and in the flower of his age, viz., twenty eight years old, and when he 
beheld the constancy of the Christian martyrs in the tortures that they 
had to endure for the faith of Christ, he asked them what they ex- 
pected in return for such sufferings, what enabled them to overcome 
such tortures. They replied, " We hope for those good things which 
eye haih not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the 
heart of man, which God hath prepared for them that love Him.' 
liy these words Adrian was touched and converted, and he hastened 
to get himself enrolled in the list of martyrs, and eagerly bore a 
cruel death at Nicomedia, with his wife Natalia looking on and 
encouraging him. This was a.d. 306, under Diocletian. 

3. The meaning of this passage will be complete if you com- 
bine the two interpretations given above thus : Those good things 
which Thou, God, through Christ, hast prepared for them that wait 
for Thee, surpass all our senses, experience, natural understanding, 
and all human desire, not only in this life in the case of those who 
have already caught some sounds of Thee, but also chiefly and most 
properly in future glory. There will God, who is Himself all that 
good is, give Himself to the blessed, and will be as all in all, as 
Anselm says. For by these words of Isaiah, the Apostle proves what 
he had said, viz., that the wisdom as well as the glory of Christ was 
secret and hidden, as we saw above. 

Neither have entered into the heart of man. Has not come into 
the mind of man : no man can by nature think of or understand 
them. The heart with the Hebrews stands for the mind. For 
what the heart is to the body — its chief and noblest part, the 
source and principle of life — that is the mind to the soul. Moreover, 
the heart supplies the brain with its vigour, and so is a kind of 
handmaid to the imagination and consequently the understanding. 
Hence Aristotle, though against Galen and all other physicians, 
placed the apprehension of external objects not in the brain but in 
the heart. He distinguished the vital organs of man by their 
functions in these verses : 

" The heart gives wisdom, the lung speech, and anger comes from the bile. 
The spleen is the cause of laughter, and love comes from the liver." 



Where Isaiah has "them that wait for Thee," S Paul has "them 
that love Thee." The sense is the same, for love is one cause of 

Ver. lo. — But God hath revealed tJiem unto us by His Spirit. S. 
Paul here anticipates an objection. It might be said," If eye hath 
not seen, neither have entered into the heart of man, the wisdom and 
the glory that Christ has prepared for His friends, how is it that you 
boast yourself of its possession ? " Paul replies that he knows them 
not by sight, sensation, or by the understanding, but by the inspira- 
tion and revelation of God. Hence, Clement of Alexandria {Pczdag. 
lib. i. c. 6) interprets the phrase, " ear hath not heard, " by adding, 
" except that ear which was taken up into the third heaven," viz., 
Paul's, who heard with the ear in Paradise mystic words which it is 
not lawful for a man to utter. Paul means, then, that God has 
revealed these things to us His Apostles and Prophets filled with His 
Spirit, in order that we may teach you and others. It appears from 
this that not only is our longing for bliss and glory supernatural, 
but that our knowledge of them is also, whether that knowledge 
be of them in their essence, or merely the obscure and fragmentary 
knowledge of the Apostles and of all others who are still "in the 
way." Consequently there is not naturally in man any perfect and 
effectual desire, or appetite, for this bliss. 

The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. That 
is, penetrates into and perceives everything. For when men want to 
learn something of which they are ignorant, they are wont to search 
and inquire about it. Put God, without any such searching, knows 
everything at a glance, and as it were by a single application of His 
mind. (S. Thomas, Theodoret, Theophylact.) 

The deep things of God are all the most secret and inward 
counsels of God. Amongst them the chiefest is this mystery of 
man's glory and redemption by Christ. All these the Holy Spirit 
penetrates into and clearly views, because He is of one essence and 
knowledge with God, and therefore He so "searches the deep things 
of God," that nothing in God remains unknown to Him. His 
knowledge and sight equal their object, and He knows God as He 


can be known ; i.e., the Holy Spirit, because He is God, compre- 
hends God and His Divinity as completely as He comprehends 
Himself. (Molina part i. qu. 14, a. 3, Theodoret, S. Thomas.) From 
this passage Ambrose and other Fathers prove the Godhead of the 
Holy Ghost against the Macedonians. To sum up S. Paul's mean- 
ing : The Holy Spirit has revealed to us these mysteries and secrets 
of God : He knows all the secrets of God, and therefore He searches 
and clearly views the deep things of God. 

Ver. II. — What ma7i knoweth the things of a 7/ian? Those in the 
inner recesses of his being, which are buried in his heart and mind, 
as, e.g , his thoughts, resolutions, and intentions, and the foundation 
of the character itself 

Eveft so the things of God knoweth no man, hit the Spirit of God. 
The Holy Spirit knows them as well as Himself For the Holy 
Spirit is internal to God, just as the spirit of a man is internal to 
him ; and as the spirit of a man is a sharer of his humanity, so the 
Spirit of God is a partaker of Godhead, and of the Divine omni- 
science and power. "The things of God" are those which are 
hidden in the mind of God — the thoughts, counsels and determina- 
tions of the Divine Will. 

After "knoweth no man, but the Spirit" must be understood, 
"and He to whom the Spirit has willed to reveal them, as to me 
and the other Apostles," as was said in ver. 10. 

"No man, but the Spirit" does not exclude the Son. For since 
He is the Word, He knows the deep things of God. For in Divine 
things, when an exclusive or exceptive word is applied to one Person 
in respect of the Divine attributes, it does not exclude the other 
Divine Persons, but only all other essences from the Divine, i.e., it 
only excludes those whose nature differs from that of God. The 
meaning then is : No one knows the secret things of God, save the 
Spirit of God, and they who have the same nature with the Spirit, 
the same intellectual and cognitive powers, viz., the Father and the 
Son. These alone know the deep things of God. 

Ver. 1 2. — A^ow we have received not the spirit of the world but the 
Spirit which is of God. He contrasts the spirit of the world with 


the Spirit which is of God, claims the latter for himself and the 
Apostles, and assigns the other to the wise men of this world. The 
spirit of the world, therefore, is that which is infused by the world, 
by worldly and carnal wisdom, which aspires after worldly, earthly, 
and carnal goods, and makes men worldly and carnal. On the 
other hand the Spirit of God is that which is infused by God and 
Divine Wisdom, which makes us pursue heavenly and Divine goods, 
and makes men spiritual and heavenly. Therefore the Apostle adds — 

That we might know the t hi figs that are freely given to us by God. 
On this passage the heretics found their peculiar belief that each 
Christian knows for a certainty that he ought by heavenly faith to 
believe that he has through Christ had given to him by God the 
forgiveness of his sins, with grace and righteousness, and as Calvin 
says, that he has been chosen to eternal glory. But this is not faith, 
but a foolish and false presumption, not to say blindness; because 
we do not certainly know that we have been duly disposed for 
righteousness, and whether we surely believe, and as we ought ; nor 
is it anywhere said or revealed in Holy Scripture that I believe as I 
ought to do, or that I am righteous or one of the elect. The best 
answer to them is the sense of the passage, which is this : The 
Holy Spirit shows and reveals to us what and how great are the gifts 
given to us, the Apostles, by God, and to others who love God — so 
great indeed that eye has not seen them, nor have they entered into 
the heart of man ; for the Apostle looks back to ver. 9. 

I say, then, that the Apostle is speaking in general terms of 
the gifts which were given to the Apostles and the Church, and 
of those gifts alone. He says in effect : " We received this Spirit 
that we, i.e., the Apostles, might know with what gifts and good 
things in general Christ has enriched us, i.e., His Church, viz., with 
what grace of the Spirit, what redemption, what virtues, and 
especially with how great glory;" for these were the things alluded 
to in ver. 9 ; and these things are, as he says in ver. 11, in God, i.e.^ 
by the free-will and predestination of God. " We know, too, through 
the Holy Spirit and Revelation, that these things have been given 
by God to the Church ; for we speak of and teach these things as 


part of the faith. But that I am possessed of them, or a sharer 
m them, is not a matter of faith, but of conjecture : it is not to be 
publicly preached, but secretly hoped for." 

Again, the word know may be taken in a twofold sense : (i.) Ob- 
jectively ; (2.) Subjectively. 

1. Objectively, the Apostle knew, and all the faithful knew, from 
the prophecies, miracles, and from other signs from God, that He 
had promised to His congregation (/.(?., His Church, which had been 
called together by the Apostles, and was afterwards to be called 
together), and that, according to His promises, He had given His 
grace, forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and other gifts of free 
grace, and lastly a sure hope of eternal life. But all this was 
to His Church in common, not to this or that individual in it; 
for we cannot know in a particular case whether this one or that 
is faithful. In this sense the word know is the same as believe. 
For we believe that the Catholic Church is holy, and that in 
her there is forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. God, there- 
fore, has only revealed that His Church is holy, but not that I am 
holy. For although He has revealed and has promised to all in 
the Church, who rightly believe and repent, forgiveness of sins and 
righteousness, yet He has not revealed that I believe truly and 
repent; and therefore He has not revealed that my sins are for- 
given, and that I am justified. 

2. The word know may be taken subjectively : we Apostles know 
by experience wlmt wisdom and grace God has given us ; and in 
this way the word knozv is the same as experietice. For no one of 
the Apostles believed by faiih from above that he had wisdom and 
grace ; but he experienced the acts and effects of grace in himself 
so vehemently, frequently, clearly, and surely, that he felt morally 
certain that he had true wisdom and grace from God. For the 
Aposdes were filled with grace and wisdom, and it behoved them 
to teach others the same, and wholly to long to bring the world to 
Christ. Although, then, the Apostles knew by experience that they 
had been justified and sanctified, still the rest of the faithful did not 
know it, nor do they know it now. They can only hope so, and con- 


jecture it from the signs of an upright and good life. Yet neither 
the Apostles, nor they, believe it on the testimony of infused faith ; for 
experience of every kind merely generates human faith, not Divine : 
that springs from and depends on the revelation of God alone. 

Ver. 13. — Which ih!7igs also ive speak, not in the 7vords which 
viands wisdom teaclieth, but which the IJoly Ghost teachcth. I.e., not 
in words taught by Cicero, Demosthenes, or Aristotle, such as 
human wisdom teaches, but in words inspired by the Holy Ghost. 

Comparing spiritual things with spiritual. In other words, we 
teach this spiritual wisdom I'rom tiie Scriptures and other spiritual 
writings, and do not base it on philosophical, rhetorical, or earthly 
reasons, ideas, or speeches, as S. Chrysostom says. CEcumenius 
sa\'s : " If we are asked whether Christ rose on the tJiird day, we 
bring forward testimony and proofs from Jonah. If Tce are asked 
whether the lord 7vas born of a J'irgin, we compare His mother 
in her virgiriity to Anna and Elizabeth i?t their sterility, and the7ice 
prove it.'''' The Apostle here gives a priori the cause and reason 
why, at God's command, he refrained from using eloquence and 
human wisdom in his preaching. The reason is that Divine and 
human wisdom so widely differ. Since, then, speech should be 
fitted to the subject-matter, it was evidently right that that speech, 
by which Divine wisdom was published, should be adapted to it, 
and should differ from the words of human wisdom — that is to say, 
that it should be simple, grave, efficacious, and Divine, as proceeding 
from the Holy Spirit, who would reject all rlietorical ornamentation. 
In this matter we are bidd-n to learn, forbidden to use ornament. 
For as words of human wisdom carry with them the wisdom and 
the spirit of the speaker, so do the words of the Holy Spirit bring 
into the soul the wisdom of God, and of His Spirit si)eaking by 
the Apostles. 

Ver. 14. — The natural 7nan receiveth not the things of the Spirit of 
God. Natural or animal is here applied to one who follows his 
senses and the unaided light of reason. He is one who is concerned 
with this life only, and thinks after the way of this life, who follows 
the objects of his sensations and the thoughts of his heart. Such 


Were the Apostles before they received the Holy Spirit, and such 
were the Corinthians at this time, as they sought after eloquence. 
Now, too, there are many of the faithful, not bad men, who do not 
seek after hii^her things. 

The word animal here comes from " anima," and has a threefold 
application, (i.) It is applied to one who grows, takes nourishment, 
and needs food, as all animals do. So Adam, though created in 
grace, is called animal [natural] ( i Cor. xv. 45, 46). (2.) Secondly, 
to one wiio follows his nature, i.e., his lusts and desires. So the 
Jews are called animal or natural, as not having the Spirit. 
(3.) To one who follows after knowledge that is not spiritual 
and sublime, but open and easy to the mind and senses. This 
is the meaning here. Bernard, or whoever is the author of the 
treatise on the solitary life, says, a little after the beginning of it : 
" The natural state is a mode of life subservient to the senses of the 
body, viz., when the soul, as though goifig outside herself, piusues, 
by tneajis of the bodily senses, the pleasure she finds i7i the bodies 
she loves, feeds on the enJoy?nent they give, and flourishes her ow7i 
sensual disposition ; or when, as though returning to herself, on 
finding that she is unable to bring to the place where her incorporeal 
nature is the bodies to which she has joiiied herself by the poweiful 
bonds of love and habit, she brings with her images of them, and holds 
friendly conversation with the7n. And whett she has accustomed her- 
self to them, she thinks that there is nothing save what she left 
behind her without, or herself brought within. Thenceforivard, as 
long as she remains here, she finds her pleasure in living accord- 
ing to the pleasu?-es of the body ; but when she is prevefited from 
enjoying them, she has no thoughts but such as are images of bodily 

So he is called spiritual who lives in the Spirit : 

1. As a spirit not needing food, so Christ lived after His resur- 
rection (i Cor. XV. 45). 

2. As following the inspiration, direction, and movements of the 

3 As drinking in the heavenly teaching of the Spirit. Such 


a one is called spiritual by S. Chrysostom, S. Thomas, and others. 
S. Bernard, in the place just quoted, writes : " The state of begin- 
ners may be called natural^ of those who are advancing rational, of 
those tuho. are perfect spiritual. For they are tiatural ivho by them- 
selves are neither led by reason nor drawn by affection, and yet are 
influenced by authority, or touclied by doctrine, or pi'ovoked by example 
to approve, and strive to imitate the good. They are rational who 
through the judgmetit of reason have some knowledge and desire of 
good, but have not yet any love of it. They are perfect who are led 
by the Spiiit, tvho are illunwiated by the Holy Spirit more filly, atid 
derive their naine of ' the spiritual ' from this. And since they know 
the taste of the good, and are led by their love for it, they are called 
the wise, or those who know.'''' Then in comparing these three, and 
forming of them steps, and a ladder of virtues, he goes on to say : 
" The first state has to do with the body, the second with the soul, the 
third fi?ids no rest but in God. The beginning of good in conversion 
is perfect obediettce, its advancement is the subjection of the body, its 
perfection is to have turned through continued good actions custom into 
love. The begimting of the 7-ational is to understand those things 
wJiich are put before it in the teaching of faith, its advancement is 
marked by the providing of those things which are enjoined, its per- 
fection is seen in the judgment of the reasoii becotning the love of 
the heart. Ihe perfection of the rational is the begiwiing of the 
spiritual ; its advancefnent cotisists in seeing the glory of God with 
unveiled face ; its perfection is to be changed into the same image from 
glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord." 

Because they are spiritually discerned, i.e., according to the rules 
given by the Holy Spirit and the canons of faith. Some reail, he is 
spiritually discerned, which would mean that he is invited, by being 
examined, to spiritual and heavenly wisdom. When he is being 
instructed in spiritual matters, or when spiritual things are put be- 
fore the natural man, and when the natural man is questioned about 
spiritual things, he cannot understand them. 

Ver. 15. — But he that is spiritual judgeth all things. He is called 
spiritual, as we have seen, who follows faith and wisdom and the 


teaching of the Holy Spirit, who has the Holy Spirit as the ruler 
of his soul. So Chrysostom, .Anselm, S. Thomas. 

JuJgttli all things, i. Hence Calvin and the Anabaptists make 
the private and fanatical spirit of each spiritual man, i.e., each one 
of the faithful, the arbiter of controversies of faith, and the inter- 
preter of Scripture ; but wrongly, for all Christians are not spiritual, 
but only the perfect, as was said at ver. 14. 

2. Others cannot know whether a man has this spirit, whether he 
is spiritual, nay, whether he is even faithful. Therefore this private 
and secret spirit cannot be the pubhc judge of all things; but this 
is the province of Councils and the Pope. For it is known that 
these are spiritual, tliat they are governed by the Holy Spirit, who 
appointed tliem teachers, and by them governs and teaches the 

3. The Fathers were spiritual to a high degree, and yet t'ney 
sometimes erred. 

4. It is evident that the simple need the pastors and teachers 
whom God has placed in the Church to teach others (Eph. iv. 11). 

I answer, then, that this pass:ige means that the spiritual man 
judges things in general, spiritual things. Divine and heavenly things, 
natural, earthly, and easy things; while the natural man judges 
natural things only. This is that there may be a distribution 
proportioned to classes of individuals, and not to individuals of 
different classes. So we say, " I live on every kind of food," i.e., 
on any kind. 

In the second place, to "judge all things" is to examine, confute, 
and sift questions, according to the rules of the faith, and of the 
Divine wisdom which the spiritual man has. Of course this is in 
questions in which he has been sufificiently instructed from above, 
as, e.g., in clear and ascertained matters of faith he judges every- 
thing according to the articles of the faith, and condemns heresies 
and errors contrary to that faith. But if any new question in faith 
or morals should arise, and it is obscure or doubtful, wisdom itself 
dictates to the spiritual man, who in this question is not yet spiritual, 
or sufficiently taught by the Spirit, to have recourse to his superiors. 


as the same Spirit teaches him, to the doctors, to his mother, the 
Roman Church, that she may decide and define this question for 
him. For she, according to the teaching of the Apostle, is plainly 
spiritual, and judges all things by the direction and assistance of the 
Spirit. For Christ promised this to Peter, and in him to his suc- 
cessors (S. Matt, xviii. i8; S. Luke xxii. 32). They, then, are 
higiily spiritual, ami they judge all things. It is different with those 
beneath them, who, though they be spiritual, yet should often seek 
the judgment of their superiors. Otherwise he who is spiritual 
would never have to obey the decision of his father, or his teacher 
or his bishop. In so far, then, as the spiritual man follows the 
leading of the Spirit, either teaching him directly, or sending him 
to the doctors of the Church, he cannot err. In the same way S. 
John says that he that is born of God cannot sin (i S. John iii. 9); 
i.e., so far as he that is born of God abides in Him. So S. Thomas, 
Ambrose, Anselra, Theophylact, Chrysostom. S. Paul's meaning, 
then, is that the spiritual man judges well about the hidden 
mysteiies of the faith, and about things in general, and if he 
doubts, he knows what to do, whom he ought to consult, so as 
to receive instruction. So Aristotle {Ethics iii. 4) says, '■^ A good 
man rigJitly judges in all cases, and the virtuous man is the rule and 
measure of all huma7i things" i.e., says S. Thomas, because he has 
a well ordered judgment and good desires, obedient to law and 
reason. Still, in difficult cases he ought to consult those who are 
wiser and more skilled in the law. 

Yet he himself is judged of 710 matt, i.e., is confuted or condemned 
by no one, in so far as he judges spiritually, as S. Chrysostom says. 
For if otherwise, he is reproved as S. Peter was by S. Paul (Gal. ii. 11). 
On the other hand tiie natural man is spiritually examined and 
judged by the spiritual, even though he does not know it or under- 
stand it. For in this passage the whole endeavour of the Apostle 
is to exclude human and worldly wisdom by spiritual, and to con- 
tract the spiritual with the natural, and to put it first, since the 
Coiiiitiiians did the opposite and therefore put Apollos before Paul. 
He implies, therefore, that the Corinthians are natural, because they 


sought after "enticing words of man's wisdom," such as they ad- 
mired in the eloquence of Apollos ; and he says that they cannot 
judge about spiritual things, and the spiritual wisdom of Paul, but 
that he and men like him ought to judge both spiritual and natural 
wisdom. This and nothing else is what the Apostle is aiming at. 

Ver 1 6. — JlVio hath known the mind of the Lord? Since the 
spiritual man has been taught by God and follows His rules, so far as 
he is such, he can be judged by no one ; for one who should judge 
him ought to be wiser or greater than the Spirit of God, so as to be 
able to penetrate and measure that Spirit. But who can do this? 
So Chrysostom. Nevertheless, the spiritual man often can be and 
ought to be judged, because he is not known to be spiritual in a 
given matter. Hence, in cxiv. 29, he says, "Let the others speak 
two or three, and let the others judge." Moreover, many boast 
themselves to be spiritual who are merely natural, as, e.g., the 
Anabaptists. But S. Paul was confessedly spiritual, hence he adds, 
We have the mind of Christ — the wisdom of Christ which is spiritual 
and Divine, not natural and human. Our wisdom is not that of Plato 
or Pythagoras, but of Christ, who has infused His truths into our 
minds. So Chrysostom. 


2 Milk is fit for children. 3 Strife and division, arguments of a fleshly mind. 
7 He that planteth, and he that watereth, is nothing. 9 The ininisters are 
God'' s fellowworkmen. II Christ the only foittidatioti. 16 Men the temples 
of God, which 17 viiist be kept holy. 19 The wisdom of this world is foolish- 
ness with God. 

AND I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto 
carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 

2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat : for hitherto ye were not able 
to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 

3 For ye are yet carnal : for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, 
and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men ? 

4 For while one saith, I am of Paul ; and another, I am of A polios ; are ye 
not carnal ? 

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, 
even as the Lord gave to every man ? 

6 I have planted, Apollos watered ; but God gave the increase. 

7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth ; but 
God that giveth the increase. 

8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one : and every man shall 
receive his own reward according to his own labour. 

9 For we are labourers together with God : ye are God's husbandry, ye are 
God's building. 

10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master- 
builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every 
man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laiil, which is Jesus 

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, 
wood, hay, stubble ; 

13 Every man's work shall be made manifest : for the day shall declare it, 
because it shall be revealed by fire ; and the fire shall try every man's work of 
what sort it is. 

14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive 
a reward. 

15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself 
shall be saved ; yet so as by fire. 

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and tlhit the Spirit of God 
dwellcth in you? 

17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy ; for the temple 
of God is holy, which teinf^le ye are. 



iS Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemelh to be wise 
in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 

19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, 
He takcth the wise in their own craftiness. 

20 And again, The Lord knoweth the tlioughts of the wise, that they are vain. 

21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours ; 

22 Whether Paii], or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or 
things present, or things to come ; all are yours ; 

23 And ye are Christ's ; and Christ is God's. 


He endeavours to put an end to the divisions among the Corinthians, by reminding 
them of their mutual subjectioa and union in Christ and God. 

L He points out that Paul and Apollos are but ministers of Christ 

(vers. 1-9). 
ii. lie reminds them that Christ is the foundation of the Church : let each 

one, therefore, take heed what he builds on that foundation ; for if 

it is only hay and stubble he will be saved indeed, but as by fire 

(vers. 10-15). 
iii. He tells them that they are the temple of God, and bids them beware 

how they break in pieces or violate that temple (vers. 16-20). 
iv. He forbids party strife (vers. 21-23). 

Vers. I, 2. — As babes in CJirisi I liave fed you with tiiilk aitd ?iot 
with meat. In the preceding chapter the Apostle, to support his 
own authority, and to remove from the minds of the Corinthians the 
false opinion that they had about his ignorance and lack of speaking 
powers, said that he spoke wisdom among them that were perfect : 
hidden wisdom which the eye had not seen, nor the ear heard, but 
which God had revealed. Now, anticipating an objection, he gives 
the reason why he had not displayed tiiis wisdom to the Corinthians, 
and transfers the blame from himself to them. It was because they 
were like children and carnal, not yet capable of receiving such 
wisdom, and to be fed, therefore, not with meat but with milk. 

Notice that the Apostle designates as milk that easier, pleasanter, 
and more simple teaching about the Manhood of Christ, His grace 
and redemption, which befits catechumens recently converted and 
still carnal. He calls "meat," or solid food, the more perfect and 
robust teaching about the deeper mysteries, such as about God, 
about the Spirit of God and spiritual things, about the wisdom, 


power, and love of the Cross. So say Ambrose, Theophylact, S. 
Tliomas. S. Anselm moralises thus : " Tiie same Christ is milk to 
mafi through the Jticar?iation ; solid food to an angel through His 
Divinity. The same Christ crucified again, tlie satne lection, the sa?ne 
sermon is taken by carnal men as milk, by spiritual as solid food.'" 

S. Paul is here alluding, as his custom is, to Isa. xxviii. 9, and to 
Isa. Iv. I. In this connection notice that what Isaiah calls "wine" 
S. Paul calls " meat," which represents the full spiritual wisdom of 
the perfect, as milk signifies the discipline of children and of the 
imperfect. Hence, in former times wine and miik were given to the 
newly baptized, when they had been clad with the white robes, and 
this custom, as S. Jerome says in his commentary on Isaiah, is still 
kept up in the churches of the West. In other places honey and 
milk were given, as TertuUian testifies {contra Afarcion lib. i. c. 14), 
to denote (i.) their infancy and innocence in Christ, milk being a 
symbol of both. Hence Homer calls men that are innocent and just 
'•feeders on milk," as Clemens Alexandrinus says (^Fadag. lib. i. c. 6). 
(2.) To denote their likeness to Christ, of whom Isaiah sang (vii. 
1 5), " Butter and honey shall He eat." (3.) To symbolise the infantine 
gentleness, humility, and meekness of the Christian life. Hence it 
was that at the first sacrifice of the Mass, which the newly baptized 
heard at Easter, viz., on Low Sunday, there was read as the Epistle 
that portion of S. Peter's Epistle in which occur the words, "As new- 
born babes desire the sincere milk of the word." Hence S. Agnes, 
on the authority of S. Ambrose {Serm. 90), used to say, " Milk and 
honey have I received from His mouth." Clement (Fcedag. lib. i. c. 6) 
discourses at length about this milk. 

Ver. 3. — Whereas there is among you c?ivyi?!g and strife . . . are 
ye not carnal? (i.) The word carnal is here applied to one who 
not only has his natural use of sense and reason, but also to one 
who follows the motions and dictates of the flesh, that is, of his 
animal nature. And, therefore, as S. Thomas rightly remarks, he 
who follows the motions of lust, or of his fallen nature, is carnal, 
natural, walking according to man, and destitute of the Spirit of 
God. (2.) Both here and in Gal. v. 19., the works of the flesh, 

VOL. I. D 


i.e., of our corrupt nature, include envying, jealousy, strife, which 
are spiritual sins, as well as gluttony and lust, which are, strictly 
speaking, fleshly. Cf. notes to Rom. vii. 22, and Gal. v. 17. 
The meaning is : You, O Corinthians, are carnal, i.e., conten- 
tious, because you fight like boys foolishly about the dignity of 
your teachers, and extol and put up for sale, one Paul, another 

Ver. 5. — Eve7i as the Lord gave to every mati. God gave to each 
one of His ministers powers of such kind and such extent as befitted 
his ministry. Therefore they should glory in God alone, not in Paul 
or Apollos, His ministers. These latter were not the lords or the 
authors of their faith, but merely the instruments used by God. So 
Anselm, Ambrose, Theophylact. 

Ver. 6. — / have plajited, Apollos watered ; hut God gave the 
increase. I was the first to sow the seeds of the faith at Corinth, 
and then Apollos coming after me helped it forward (Acts xviii. 26). 
But it was God who gave tiie inner life and strength of grace for 
growth and maturity in Christian faith and virtue : this belongs to 
God alone. Cf. Augustine {171 Joan. Tr. 5). 

God gives to plants their increase, not, as rustics suppose, by directly 
adding some special daily power of growth, but by bestowing upon 
and preserving to the nature itself of the seed or the root a vigorous 
power of growth. In other words, He is continually bestowing it and 
preserving it, and co-operating with it : for the Divine work of pre- 
servation is nothing but a continuation of the primal creative power. 
He does this by ordering and tempering according to His counsel 
the rain, heat, and winds, and other things needed by the fruits of 
the ground, so that, as these are tempered, the fruit is larger or 
smaller. So it is in the sowing of the Word of God, and in its 
growth, perfecting and harvest in the minds of men. 

It appears from this (i.) that outward preaching, calling, examples, 
and miracles are not alone sufficient for conversion and the besrin- 
ning of the spiritual life, or for its further growth. (2.) That, though 
all alike hear the same word of preaching, yet some profit little, some 
profit much by it, viz., those whom Gcd works upon by a special 


inward calling, and whose hearts He touches to change their lives, 
or to continue to rise to higher things. Hence, both those who 
preach and those who hear profit most who earnestly beseech God 
for this inward influence. 

Ver. 7. — So then ndthcr is lie that planteth anything, neither he 
that watercth, but God that gii'eth the increase. The husbandman 
who plants and waters does hardly anything when compared with 
God; for he works from without only, and whatever he does he 
receives it from God, and works as His instrument. But God works 
within directly as the chief agent, and supplies the power of vigorous 
growth. For action is assigned to the chief agent, and especially to 
the first cause. So S. Thomas and Theophylact ; S. Augustine (in 
i. Ep. S. John. Tr. 7) says beautifully : " Outivard ministries are 
helps and warnifigs, but He that teacheth the heart has His throne in 
heaven. These zvords zchich we address to atiot/ier from without are 
to him as the husbandman to the tree. For the husbandman acts upon 
the tree from without, by dilige?itly watering and tendifig it, but He 
does not fashion its fruits." It is God that co-operates with the 
tree, and lends it the power of bringing forth fruit. In the same 
way the words of the preacher do but little, for they sound from 
without only. But it is God who co-operates with them within, and 
by His grace illuminates and converts the soul. 

Ver. 8. — A^07V he that planteth and he that watereth are one. They 
are one, say S. Thomas, Anselm, and others, in office and one in 
their ministry, i.e., they are both alike ministers. Therefore one 
is not to be despised or extolled in comparison of another, e.g., 
Paul in comparison of Apollos. Moreover, all ought to be knit to- 
gether as one by the same bond of charity, and ought not to cause 
divisions on account of their ministers. For although they may 
have different gifts, yet they all discharge the self-same duty, and 
are one in Christ, who hates schisms, loves unity, and carefully 
watches over His ministers, however feeble they be, and wishes 
them to be esteemed and honoured by all, not as men but as His 

And every man shall receive his oivn reward according to his labour. 


This passage shows clearly the merits of good works ; for where there 
is reward there is merit, the two terms being correlatives. 

He does not say, it should be noticed, that " each one shall receive 
a reward according to the fruit that he has brought forth," but 
simply "according to his labour," for the fruit is not in our power, 
but in the hand of God that giveth the increase. You will receive, 
therefore, a full reward for all genuine labour, even though no fruit 
follow — though no heretic or sinner be converted. Nay, the reward 
will be the greater, because it is more difficult and more dishearten- 
ing to preach when little or no fruit is seen than when many applaud 
the sermon, or profit by it. 

Ver. 9. — For we are labourers together with God. S. Dionysius 
(Ccelest. Hierarch. c. 3) says, ^' A great, an angelic, nay, a Divine 
dignity is it to become a fellow-worker with God in the conversion of 
souls, and to shozv openly to all the Divine potver working in us.'^ 

Ye are Gods husbandry. Not Paul's or ApoUos' : so you cannot 
boast yourselves in them. S. Paul continues the illustration drawn 
from agriculture. The chief tiller is God ; Paul and ApoUos are 
his servants ; the Corinthians are the field ; the seed is grace, the 
fruits good works. God by His Spirit cultivates within : Paul 
assists Him by his preaching from without. So Anselm. 

Ye are God's building. He inculcates the same truth by another 
illustration from building and architecture. The first architect is 
God ; the secondary minister is Paul ; the building is the Church 
and every Christian soul. So Anselm. 

We should observe that the Hebrews and Syrians rejoice in 
metaphors and parables, and run them together, easily passing from 
one to another. 

Ver. 10. — According to the grace of God which is given unto fne, as 
a wise master-builder I have laid the foundation. Not mine is this 
building, not mine the work ; for although I, as the first architect, 
laid the foundations, by my preaching, of the Church at Corinth, yet 
whatever I did, and brought to perfection there, was done, not by 
my strength, but by the grace of God. Let, then, this building of 
(iod's Church be attributed to His grace, not to my efforts. 



Ver. II. — For other foundation can no nian lay. I have laid the 
foundation of your Church : let Apollos and others see what super- 
structure they raise upon, but not endeavour to lay a new foun- 
dation. For no other foundation can be laid, for it is Jesus Christ 
Himself. The foundation, then, of the Church, and of each indi- 
vidual soul in it, is Jesus Christ, i.e.^ faith in Him as our Saviour, 
and especially that faith which is quickened by charity, on which 
I have built you. So Anselm, and S. Gregory {lib. vii. epist. 47). 

In this sense Christ alone is the foundation of the Church, and 
the foundation of the foundations, as S. Augustine says (Ps. Ixxxvii. 
i), because He rests on Himself alone, and bears up all others, 
even Peter. In another sense Peter is the foundation of the 
Church, viz., a secondary one, because from his firmness in the 
faith he cannot publicly teach error, but always confirms others in it, 
and gives them light. This is laid down by S. Thomas and all 
Catholic theologians. In a similar sense, not only Peter, but all the 
Apostles, are called the foundations of the Church (Ps. Ixxxvii. i ; 
Rev. xxi. 19). 

Vers. 12 and yt^.—Noiv if any man Imild . . . the fire shall try 
every 7nan's work of what sort it is. This is a metaphor drawn from 
a house on fire, which if constructed of gold or precious stones 
receives no damage, but if of wood or stubble is consumed. 

Notice in passing that by " precious stones " we must here 
understand marble, porphyry, and the like, not diamonds or other 
gems ; for the houses of wealthy men are built of the former, not of 
the latter. Such was the boast of Augustus : " I received the city 
built of brick, I leave it built of marble." The Apostle's meaning, 
then, is that, if a fire occur, a house built of marble and gold is not 
injured by it, but rather shines the more brightly. But the next 
house, being built of wood and stubble, will burn, and its tenant will 
escape indeed, but he will be scorched. So if any Christian, and 
especially any teacher or preacher of the Gospel (for such are primarily 
referred to here, as appears from vers. 4, 6, and 10), build upon the 
faith of Christ gold and silver, that is, according to Theodore and 
Theophylact, holy works, and especially sound, edifying, and holy 


doctrine, he shall receive his reward. So Ambrose and S. Anselm. 
S. Thomas says: ^' Gold is charity; silver, contemplative wisdom; 
precious stones are the other virtues" On the other hand, wood, hay, 
stubble are sins, not deadly sin?, as Chrysostom, Theophylact, and 
Gregory {contra. Magd. lib. iv. c. 13) think (for these are lead and 
brass, as is pointed out by Anselm and S. Thomas and S. Augustine 
{Enchirid. c. 68), nor are they built upon, but they overturn and 
destroy the building, viz., that living faith which alone wins a reward 
from Christ) ; but they represent venial sins, which make the mind 
cling to vanities, to worldly advantages, to vain-glory. But strictly 
speaking the Apostle is referring, when he speaks of wood, hay, 
stubble, to doctrine that is fluid, frivolous, showy, ornamental, wire- 
drawn, and useless. So say Ambrose, S. Thomas, Theodoret, An- 
selm. For he that builds these things on the foundation of faith 
in Christ shall be saved, yet so as by fire. 

The Apostle in these verses leaves the Corinthians to give a 
warning to ApoUos and their other teachers and preachers, especially 
those gifted with eloquence, to beware of their great danger, vain- 
glory, and to be teachers of the truth in its purity, lest if they do 
otherwise they have to expiate their sin by fire. That there were 
some such at Corinth who had been the cause or the occasion of 
strife and division is pretty plainly hinted here and in the next 
chapter in vers. 6, 10, 15, 18, and 19. 

J^or the day shall dec'are it. This day is the day of the Lord, to 
be marked with a white or black stone, the day of judgment, 
especially of the universal judgment, which shall be revealed in fire. 
For that day of the Lord is now our day, as Anselm, Theodoret, 
Ambrose, and S. Thomas say. Cf. also 2 Tim. iv. 8 ; i. 12 ; and v. 
15. In these and other places we are evidently to understand "that 
day" to be as it were a technical name for the famous day of 
universal judgment. 

But notice that the day of particular judgment is also to be in- 
cluded under this day of universal judgment. For the judgment 
of both is one and the same, as is also their sentence. 

// shall be revealed by fire. What is this fire ? To answer this we 


must notice that the Apostle speaks of three things: (i.) that the 
day of the Lord shall be revealed in fire ; (2.) that it shall try each 
man's work; (3.) that those who build wood, hay, stubble shall pass 
through it, and shall be saved, yet so as by fire. 

1. Many of the ancients, as Origen {i?i Lucam, horn. 14), Ambrose 
(in Ps. xxxvii.), Lactantius (Jib. vii. c. 21), Basil (in Isa. iv.), Rupert 
(in Gen. lib. ii. c. 32), take the fire to be literal fire, which they think 
all souls, even those of Peter and Paul, must pass through on their 
way to heaven, to have their impurities purged away, whether it be 
the general conflagration at the end of the world, or the purgatorial 
fire beneath the eanh, or some other fire in the upper seiher. For 
Bede says {Ilist. lib. iii. xix.) that S. Fursey saw huge fires on the 
road which led to heaven, through which the traveller must pass. 
But this opinion, though it has not been condemned, and though 
Bellarmine {de Piirg. lib. ii. i) has not ventured to condemn it, yet 
lacks foundation. For this passage of the Apostle's, on which alone 
those who uphold this view rely, has a different meaning. That 
vision of Fursey's, too, was merely a representation, under the image 
of literal fire, of God's spiritual judgment and the punishments 
awaiting carnal men, as I will show presently. 

2. S. Chrysostom and Theophylact, who were followed by the 
Greek Fathers at the Council of Florence, reply that it is hell-fire, in 
which the sinner will remain safely, i.e., undestroyed and undying, 
so as to undergo punishment everlastingly. But this is a perversion 
of the meaning : for salvation everywhere stands in Scripture 
for a state of freedom from pain and sorrow, never for an eternal 
existence in torments. And so all other interpreters understand it, 
as well as the Latin Fathers at that same Council. 

But we should notice that though S. Chrysostom understands this 
verse of hell, yet he does not deny that it may refer to purgatory, as 
was falsely asserted by Mark, Archbishop of Ephesus, at the Council. 
He even expressly admits it (in Matt. Jlom. 32, in Philipp. Ilotn. 3, 
Heb. Horn. 4, and elsewhere). \\\ these places he exhorts the faith- 
ful to i)ray for the faithful departed in purgatory ; for we may not 
pray for those in hell, since there there is no redemption. 


3. Heretics reply that this fire is the fire of the tribulation of 
this life ; and this is even implied by Anselm and Gregory (Dial. iv. 
39) and Augustine (in Ps. xxxviii), all of whom, however, understand 
it of purgatory, or that it is the fire of confusion, which they feign 
that the Holy Spirit sends upon the Saints in life, or else at their 
death, as, e.g., they say He did in the case of SS. Bernard, Francis, and 
Dominic, to show them their errors about the monastic life, the Mass, 
and Confession, that so they might have their eyes opened and be 
led to retract. But all this is a gratuitous invention, nor does there 
exist any such retractation made by these Saints or by others on their 
death-beds : they rather gave with constancy an exhortation to their 
followers to persist and go forward in the monastic life. 

Add to this that many have died suddenly, and still die suddenly, 
or die in their sleep, and that they depart with the stain of venial 
sins. Where are they purged? Not in heaven, for there nothing 
that defiles shall enter (Rev. xxi. 27); not in hell, for that is the 
place of the lost ; therefore, it must be in purgatory. For after this 
life there is no place for the wonted mercy and pardon of God, but 
only for justice and for just making amends, or rather suffering 
amends, so that no one may say that God freely forgives all sin to 
the dead, i.e., all pain and guilt. Lastly, the day of death is not 
called the day of the Lord, but the day of judgment; nor does fire 
denote the confusion that happens then, but literal fire. 

Calvin objects that wood, hay, stubble are used figuratively, so 
therefore is I reply by denying that it follows; for it appears 
that the day of the Lord is to be revealed by fire properly so called, 
and I shall show this directly. 

4. Sedulius, Cajetan, Theodoret, Ambrose understand this 
fire of the strict and severe examination of the judgment of God, 
punishing sin after death by fire ; or, as Bellarmine suggests, it is the 
fire partly of judgment, partly of purgatory. In other words, as the 
works of sinners shall have their fiery examination, so too shall they 
that work them have their fire, the fire of vengeance, in purgatory. 
By way of analogy that judgment is called by the name of fire, because, 
like fire, it will be most purifying, most searching, most rapid, and 


most efficacious (Mai. iii. 2 ; Heb. xii. 29). But since the words of 
the Apostle speak of nothing but fire, and repeat it twice and three 
times, they seem plainly and properly to mean what they say, and 
to denote literal fire throughout, with no figure, double meaning, or 

I say, then, i. that it is certain that this place is understood of 
the fire of purgatory. So it is taken by the Council of Florence, by 
Ambrose, Theodoret, S. Thomas, Anselm, here, and in innumerable 
places by the Greek and Latin Fathers, cited at length by Bellarmine 
and Salmeron. This is the tradition and common opinion of the 
Church and of doctors, although they may sometimes explain the 
details differently, or apply them to purgatory in a different way. 

It may be objected : If the Council of Florence understands this 
passage of purgatorial fire, it is therefore a matter de fide, and must 
be understood of it by all, and therefore also it is de fide, not only 
that there is a purgatory, but that souls are purged in it by fire. 

I answer by denying that it follows. For although the Latin 
Fathers in the Council of Trent so understand it, and though con- 
sequently it is certain that there is a purgatorial fire, yet they were 
unwilling to define it to be a matter of faith that it is fire, but only 
that it is purgatorial. They did this, too, so as not to offend the 
Greeks, who admitted indeed a purgatory, but denied the existence 
of fire in it, saying merely that it was a dark place and full of 

2. The fire spoken of here by the Apostle is, properly speaking, 
the fire of the conflagration of the world. This appears from the 
fact that it will be in the day of the Lord, that is, at the last judgment, 
which is everywhere described in Scripture " by fire which is to burn 
up the world." Cf. Ps. xcvii. 3 ; 2 Thess. i. 8 ; Joel ii. 3 ; 2 S. Peter 
iii. 12. For this fire will at the same time consume the world, nnd 
prove and purge those who shall then be living, as theologians 
everywhere lay down ; it will also be the precursor, or rather the 
companion and lictor, of Christ, the Judge, It will, too, bring death 
and punishment, if not to the pure, at any rate to the impure, pro- 
portioned to their deserving. This fire shall then surround and 


carry off ihe condemned with it into hell, and so it is said that "the 
day of the Lord shall be revealed by fire;" which means that that 
day shall be revealed by fire as the day of the vengeance and judg- 
ment of the Lord. 

You will ask, How does this fire purge works which have long 
passed away and are not? I reply that Scripture says that men's 
good and evil deeds follow them ; they are with them after death, 
inasmuch as responsibility for them still remains with men, binding 
them either to reward or punishment. 

You may ask again, How can works be said to be burnt? I 
answer, in two ways : (i.) Figuratively, for they are compared to 
stubble, vvhich literally burns. Works, too, burn in a figurative sense, 
i.e., they are punished and destroyed like wood which is consumed 
by fire. (2.) By metonymy the works are put for the worker, and 
are thus said to burn. 

Notice here that the Apostle uses this figure and metonymy so as 
to carry on the illustration of a building which he introduced in ver. 
g, and also because he is referring to the conflagration which is to 
burn all the buildings in the world. For men's works build for 
them as it were houses, just as silkworms spin little balls of silk, and 
enwrap themselves in them, as if they were their houses ; so that if 
you burn these little balls you burn the silkworm, and vice versa. So 
here work is figuratively burnt like a house, because the worker and 
builder to whom the works adhere, and in whom they may be said 
to adhere, is burnt. Moreover, the works rather than the workman 
are said to be burnt, because the workman is not utterly consumed, 
but is saved, yet so as by fire. But the guilt of his works is by this 
fire consumed and done away. 

It may be asked in the third place, How is it that this fire is said 
to try gold and silver, i.e., good works? I answer, By the very fact 
that it does not touch them, but leaves them wholly unharmed, 
because they are wholly without alloy ; the fire declares the per- 
fection of the workmen and their works. But it will manifest by 
burning, i.e., by punishing wood, hay, stubble, when it shall attack 
and burn those that committed venial sin, and shall purge them 


from them, so as to save them, yet so as by fire. Similarly, in 
olden times, until it was forbidden by the Canons as tempting God, 
trial by ordeal was resorted to for the purpose of deciding guilt : an 
accused person had to handle a red-hot iron, or walk uj:ion it bare- 
foot. If he was really guilty he was burnt; if innocent, uninjured. 
This happened to S. Cunegund, wife of the Emperor Henry, and 
to the three children in the Babylonian furnace. The one proved 
her chastity by walking barefoot over the hot iron, the others their 
innocence by passing uninjured through the fiery furnace. 

It may be asked again, How does fire try the work of every man ? 
For Paul, and all who are already dead, do not pass through the 
fire that consumes the world. I reply (i.) that S. Paul is in the 
habit of speaking as if the last day were close at hand, that so he 
may stir up every one to prepare himself for a day that is uncertain, 
and perhaps soon to come. (2.) Moreover, this fire will purge the 
whole world, and therefore if there is any stain in any of the dead 
that has not yet been purged away, it will be attacked and punished 
by that fire ; and so each one's work, whether he be living or dead, 
will be manifested. (3.) As the Apostle includes the day of death 
under the day of the Lord, and particular judgment under the 
general, and regards them under one aspect, so in like manner, 
under the fire that will accompany Christ when He comes in 
judgment, and that will purge whatever then remains that needs 
purging, he wishes us to understand that fire by which souls begin 
to be purged directly after death. By this fire, therefore, he means 
the fireof purgatory. 

It is no objection to this that the fire which shall destroy the 
world will be before death, when it should be after death. For (i.) 
it will do away with the sins of the whole life and of death also. 
But it cannot be after death so as to purge the dead, for they that 
are dead then will immediately rise and be carried to judgment. 
(2.) If any one before death shall chance not to have been sufiici- 
ently purged, he will after death be fully dealt with by the same 
purgatorial fire. This is proved by this verse ; for the Apostle writes 
it to the living, who were not to see the general conflagration, but 


were to have their own purgatory after death, as the others were to 
have theirs at death. For why should one escape this fire more 
than the other, if their merits were the same ? (3.) The Greek word 
is in the present tense, "is being revealed :" in other words, the "day 
of the Lord" is revealed at death. (4.) The work of every one 
will be tried by this purgatorial fire, and yet the work of those alive 
at the general conflagration will alone be tried by it. (5.) All the 
Catholic Fathers, the Latin doctors, and the Council of Florence, 
at its beginning, understand this passage of the fire of purgatory, and 
it has the unanimous tradition of the Church. (6.) To try by purg- 
ing is in the strictest sense the work of purgatory, and of it we 
can most truly say that it shall save, yet so as by fire. For from the 
moment of death a man will be saved, and when he has been 
thoroughly purged he will fly from purgatory to heaven, before the 
great day of the Lord. 

As, then, the saying of the Apostle's, that the day of the Lord shall 
be revealed by fire, exactly suits the fire at the end of the world, so 
also it strictly falls in with the fire of purgatory, because it shall try 
each man's work, and because the righteous man who has sinned 
shall be saved yet so as by fire. 

I must add to this that theologians of repute, as Francis Suarez 
(pt. iii. vol. 2, disp. 57. sec. i), hold that this general conflagration 
will not slay and purge men, but that after the resurrection, at the 
general judgment, this fire will only be for the terror and punish- 
ment of the lost, and to burn up and renew the world after judg- 
ment. Still, they say, that we can infer that it will try and purge 
the good, inasmuch as it will be a witness to the acknowledgment 
by Christ of their innocence resulting from the purgation they have 
undergone in purgatory. It is therefore much more certain that the 
trial spoken of here will be by the fire of purgatory rather than by 
the conflagration at the end of the world. In short, the whole of 
this passage of the Apostle's must be understood as well of the day 
of judgment, both particular and universal, as of purgatory and the 
fire that is to consume the world. It may be asked. Why does the 
Apostle blend these and speak indifferently of both judgments and 


both fires? The reason is (i.) that as the particular and general 
judgment will be one and the same, so will the fire of purgatory and 
at the end of the world be one and the same. One purges men, 
the other the world. The fire of purgatory is related as a part to 
the whole to the general fire which will be the world's purgatory ; 
it will give place to it, and perhaps be changed into it, and perhaps 
become numerically one with it. (2.) The Apostle frequently speaks 
of the day of judgment being close at hand, and consequently as if 
the passage from purgatory to the general conflagration were soon 
to be made; and, as was said, he does this that men may prepare 
themselves for it by holy and pious lives. Cf. i Thess. iv. 15 ; Heb. 
xi. 40 ; 2 Cor. v. i, 3, 4. Similarly, the Prophets and Christ Himself 
often mingle type and antitype, as in S. Matt. xxiv. Christ speaks 
of the destruction of Jerusalem and of the world as one destruction, 
and as if one were to follow closely upon the other. This is why 
the Apostles, when Christ said this, thought that the two would be 
nearly contemporaneous, though afterwards when better taught they 
perceived and corrected their mistake. 

You may ask secondly. How can the words, " it shall be revealed 
by fire," be applied to the particular judgment ? What fire will be 
Christ's assessor at the particular judgment when each man's works 
are tried and declared ? I answer that the fire of purgatory is 
Christ's assistant in the particular judgment of any man, ready to 
His hand to try, punish, and purge each man's work. We ought to 
remark that S. Paul personifies this purgatorial fire, and makes it a 
kind of assessor to Christ, so that, like soldiers before their captain, 
all the dead must pass before it, to be inspected, and, if they need it, 
to be corrected. The Apostle does this (i.) to carry on his figure 
of gold and the refiner ; (2.) to keep the fitting proportion between this 
fire and the general conflagration, to wliich his reference is primarily 
when he says, " the day of the Lord shall be revealed by fire." Notice 
also that, as when the Prophets and Christ blend confusedly type 
and antitype, as, e.g., when they speak of Solomon and Christ, of the 
destruction of the city and the world, and appear to apply to both 
things, which have more reference to the one than to the other, so 


also S. Paul does here : for the words, "the day of the Lord shall be 
revealed by fire," refer rather to the conflagration at the end of the 
world; but the words that follow, "the fire shall try every man's 
work," have to do rather with the fire of purgatory. 

The fire of purgatory, then, is Christ's assistant at the day of par- 
ticular judgment. His precursor, lictor, jailer, and scourge ; it examines 
each man's work, leaves the gold of good works unharmed, but burns 
up as if they were its proper fuel all works of wood, hay, stubble ; and 
so each one shall suffer loss, or punishment — in such a way, how- 
ever, that the worker is saved, yet so as by fire. And so at the day 
of death and particular judgment this fire is revealed to each one. 
And this was the meaning of Fursev's vision. For when he saw 
himself dead and the fire approaching him, he said to the angel, 
"Lord, lo ! the fire is coming near me." The angel answered, 
" What thou didst not kindle shall not burn thee. For though the 
pyre seem great and terrible, yet it tries every man according to 
he merit of his works, for each man's lust shall be burnt in this fire. 
For just as each one burns in his body with unlawful lust, so when 
freed from the body shall he be burnt by just punishment." 

Ver. 15. — Buf he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. Isidorius 
Clarius wrongly applies this to the " foundation." Grammatically it is 
possible, but logically not, for it does not agree with the context. 
For the Apostle is showing that those teachers who erect an empty 
and showy structure on tlie faith of Christ shall be punished with 
fire. Moreover, the preceding words, "he shall receive a reward," 
evidently refer to the builder, not to the foundation. So, too, the 
opposite clause here must be referred to him who builds and not to 
the foundation laid. 

Notice (i.) that as is a mark of truth, not of comparison. So in 
S. John i. 14: "We have seen His glory, the glory a^ of the Only- 
begotten of the Father," i.e., that glory which befitted the Only- 
begotten. (2.) Tiiat it is possible for as to be the introduction of a 
comparison here. The meaning then would be. He shall be saved 
like as one who escapes from a burning house, and passes scorched 
through the flames, as I said at ver. 12. Hence it appears both 


that there is a purgatory and that there is fire. Hence Chrysostom 
{Horn, ad pop.d^)) says that "the Apostles ordered that at the sacrifice 
of the Mass prayer be offered for the departed." Dionysius {Eccles. 
Hierarch. cvii. pt. 3) records these prayers, and says that he received 
them from the Apostles. For, as S. Augustine says (Ps. xxxviii ), 
" Because it is said ' shall be saved,' this fire is thought little of, 
but it will be more than anything that man can endure in this life." 
S. Bernard too says {de Obit. ffiiiJil?.), " What we have neglected 
here shall there be paid a hundredfold." 

Many think that the fire of purgatory is the same as the fire of 
hell, which borders on purgatory, but only differs from it in duration. 
From this Anselm gives the wise advice : " If to escape tortures 
we obey a king here, let us obey the will of God so as to escape 
that fire which is more terrible than all tortures here." And S. 
Chrysostom {de Penit. horn. 5) says : " Now there is space for 
repentance ; let then penitence forestall punishment ; let us come 
before His face with confession ; let us extinguish the fire prepared 
for our sins, not with many waters, but with a few tears." At all 
events, it is better and easier to be purged with water than with fire : 
it is better to spend the whole life in the purgatory of penitence 
than to dwell for a year in the purgatory of fire. 

S. Bernard, in his sermon on " the wood, hay, stubble," gives a 
tropological discourse that is much to the point. He says : " TJie 
foundatioji is Christ, the wood is perishable, the hay yielding, the 
stubble light. They who bega?t stoutly enough, but when b?-oken are 
not renewed, are the wood. They are the hay who, being lukewarm by 
reason of the sloth that they should have fled from, are unwilling to 
touch arduous labours ivith the tip of their fingers. They are the 
stubble who, being tossed about by every light breeze, never remaifi 
in the same state. For such must tve fear, though not despair : for if 
they have heed to Christ as the foundatio7i, and have finished their 
life in Him as the Way, they shall be saved, yet so as by fire. . . . 
Fire has three things — S7noke, light, heat. Smoke calls forth tears, 
light illuminates tvhat is 7iear, heat burns. So he is of this 
sort ought to have smoke, that is, a smarting as it were in his mind. 


because of Ids lukrivarmness, his refnissness, his fickleness ; for as far 
as in him iics he disturbs and overthrows natural order. So, too, 
should he have light in his mouth, that he may by co7ifession say and 
bewail that he is what he knows himself to be ; so that his tongue may 
sharpen his conscience, and his conscience shame his tongue. It is 
necessary, too, that he feel in his body the heat of the suffering exacted 
l)y penitence — in some degree at all events, if not very acutely. Thinkcst 
thou that JJe who wishes all me7i to be saved tvill cast away those 
who in this way are of contrite heart, who humbly confess, and try 
to bring under their bodies 1 . . . There are, too, others who build on 
this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, who begin ardetitly, more 
ardently go forward, attd most ardently seek perfection, not payiiig any 
heed to what the fiesh can do, but what the Spirit wills. ^^ 

Ver. 1 6. — Know ye tiot that ye are the temple of God? This 
is a return to the image of ver. 9 : "Ye are God's building," and 
therefore not a heathen temple, but the temple of God, in which by 
faith, grace, charity, and His gifts He dwells. So Anselm and others. 
For a fuller exposition of this, see the notes to 2 Cor. vi. 16. 

How the soul maybe dedicated as a temple to God is declared at 
length by S. Bernard (Serm. i de Dedic. EccL). He says that there 
are five things observed in a dedication : the sprinkling, the marking 
with the cross, the anointing, the illumination, and the benediction ; 
and all these take place also in the dedication of the soul. 

Observe that up to the present S. Paul has been dealing with 
those teachers and those of the faithful who build up the holy 
edifice of the Church. He now turns to those who undermine it. 

Ver. 17. — If a7iy man defile the temple of God, him shall God 
destroy. If any one, through the fatal pride that is born of human 
wisdom, through novel, erroneous, and pestilential teaching, or 
through schisms such as are found among you, O Corinthians, 
says Anselm ; or if any one in any other way corrupt the Church, 
or any individual soul in it — him shall God destroy. The Apostle 
is speaking mainly of the corruption that comes through the teaching 
of false doctrine, through pride, through envy, or the fomenting 
of schism. For as he began, so does he finish this chapter with 


warnings to false teachers. It appears, too, from the next words 
where he says that any such defiler shall not be saved, so as by 
fire, but shall be consumed in everlasting fire. 

Ver. i8. — If a?iy man among you seemeth to be zvise. If any man 
is proud of his worldly wisdom and eloquence, his earthly knowledge 
and so come to look down on others, let him become filled with 
humility and faith, and with the folly of the Cross, so as to be a 
fool in the eyes of the world. Cf notes on i. 26. This with God 
is the only true wisdom. Since the world's wisdom is folly with 
God, and God's wisdom foolishness to the world, it follows that we 
cannot be truly wise unless according to the world we are fools — 
unless, in spite of our greatness and wisdom before the world, we 
submit ourselves like children, nay, like fools, to the faith, doctrine, 
cross, and obedience of Christ. " So" says S. Bernard (Serm. i de 
Epiph\ '■'■ did the three Magi worship the Child in the manger and 
become fools, so as to learn wisdom ; and so the Spirit taught them 
what was afterwards preached by Apostles : ' He who wishes to be wise 
let him become a fool, that he may be wise J They enter the stable, 
they find a child ivrapped in stvaddlifig clothes : they think no scorn 
of the stable, stumble not at the swaddlifig clothes, nor fnd offence 
in the Infant at the breast : they fall down, they worship Him as 
King, they adore Him as God. Surely, He who led thither their 
steps also opened the eyes of their mind . He who guided them from 
without by a star, also taught them in the deepest recesses of the 
heart." S. Basil asks {^Reg. brevior. 274) : "How is any one made 
a fool in this world?" And he replies, ''^ If he fears the judgment 
of God, who says, ' Woe to them that are wise in their own eyes, and 
prudent in their own sight;' and if he imitates Him who said, '/ 
became even as a beast before Thee ; ' if he throw away all eynpty belief 
in his 0W71 wisdom, reverse all his former judgments, and confess that 
not even from the beginning had he ever thought aright till he was 
taught by the comtna?id of God what was pleasing to Him in thought, 
word, and deed." 

Ver. 19. — For the wisdom of this world is fooUsJmess with God. 
God has rejected the wisdom of the world as worthless, (i.) because 

VOL. I. E 


it has nothing in it that is wholesome and Divine, and does nothing 
towards salvation ; (2.) He would not use it in the preaching of the 
Apostles, but employed instead unlettered Apostles; (3.) It is often 
contrary to the faith, not only in speculative matters (as, e.g., all who 
are merely worldly-wise reject the mystery of the Holy Trinity, of the 
Incarnation and death of the Son of God as being impossible and 
incredible), but also in matters of practice and morals. For Christ 
bids us love our enemies; the wisdom of the world bids us hate 
them : Christ bids us overcome evil with good, the world says, " Re- 
turn evil for evil;" Christ calls blessed the poor, the meek, them 
that mourn, that hunger, that suffer persecution, but the world says 
that it is the rich, those that are in high station, that laugh, feast, 
and rule, that are happy. 

For it is written, He taketh the wise in their owft crafti?iess. This 
is from Job v. 13. They are the words, not of Job, but of Eliphaz, 
who wished to show that Job had deserved his calamities through his 
sins. He was reproved by God (Job xlii. 7), and therefore these 
words of Eliphaz have not the authority of Holy Scripture, but only 
that of a wise man. For S. Paul approves of this saying of Eliphaz 
as being true, and wisely said by a wise man. 

God takes the wise in their craftiness when He fulfils His will by 
the very means by which they thought to reverse it. When the 
brothers of Joseph, wishing to stultify his dreams about his future 
leadership, threw him into a pit and sold him into Egypt, God, 
through their action, exalted him, and made him ruler over Egypt, 
and forced his brothers to do him reverence. In like manner God 
overruled the wisdom of Pharaoh at the Red Sea, of Saul and 
Achithophel in their attempts to destroy David, of Haman at the 
gallows, where he thought to slay Mordecai. So S. Thomas. 

Ver. 20. — And again, the Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, 
that they are but vain. Ps. xciv. 11. By all these quotations and 
reasons S. Paul impresses on the Corinthians that the worldly 
wisdom and eloquence of which they boasted themselves, and 
through which they put Apollos before himself, were but vain. He 
declares that the true wisdom is the faith and teaching of Christ, 


which he had preached them — in simple words, indeed, but yet with 
burning and efficacious zeal. 

vS. Jerome, moraHsing on Ps. xciv., says: "■ Do you ivish to kno7v 
Iww it is that the thoughts of men are vain ? A father ayid mother 
bring up a child, they promise themselves happiness in him, they send 
him to be educated ; he conies to niafthood, they enter him as a soldier, 
and when through thirty years they have thought of everything for him, 
a slight attack of fever comes and carries away the fruit of all their 
thought. O anxiety of ?na7i ! how vain is it in human affairs ! One 
thought alone britigs happiness — the thought of God." 

Vers. 2 1, 22. — Therefore, let no man glory iti 7nen . . . all are yours. 
Glory not in Paul or in Apollos, for they and all others, nay, all 
creatures are common to each one of you ; they all alike concur in 
procuring your salvation. 

It should be remarked that S. Paul, when he says that all are 
yours, does not teach a community of goods such as there was in 
paradise, and as Huss, Wyclif, and others fondly dream of. He 
means that by way of final cause and use, not by way of possession, 
all things have been intended to help forward their salvation. So 
say Anselm, Ambrose, Theodoret, S. Thomas, Chrysostom. They 
have been given to be used either objectively or subjectively, which 
latter consists in acknowledging and praising the Creator in all 
His creatures ; and this is what is meant by the common saying, 
"The whole world swells the wealth of the faithful." Cf Theodoret 
{Serm. lo dc. Frovid.). Hence S. Chrysostom says: '■^ JVe are 
Chris fs in one zvay ; Christ is God^s in another ; the 'world is ours in 
another. For we are Chris fs as His zvork ; Christ is Gods as His 
most dearly-beloved Son ; the world is ours, not as being our zvork, 
but because it was made on our account." The world then is ours, 
because all creatures in the world serve our body and soul ; life is 
ours, that we may lay up a store of merits ; death is ours, because it 
is the gate through which we pass to everlasting life ; or the death 
of martyrdom is ours ; things present, whether adverse or prosperous, 
are ours that we may extract good from them ; things to come are 
ours, that we may enjoy them : they are now ours in hope, they will 


be ours in fact in heaven. So S. Thomas and Anselm. Ours, too, 
are evil things, such as hell and the lost, that we may rule over 

Ver. 23. — I'e are Christ's. You are the mystical members of 
Christ, your Head and Lord, and therefore you are His possession, 
having been bought by His Blood. Therefore you should glory in 
Christ, not in Paul or ApoUos. So S. Thomas and Anselm. 

And Christ is God's, (i.) Because, as God, He is the Son of God. 
Ambrose says, " Christ is the Son of God, and does His will, that 
we too may do it." So, too, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Anselm. (2.) 
Christ as man is God's, as His Lord and Head, being His creature 
and His possession. So S. Thomas and Cajetan. 

From what has been said it appears that all the faithful, and 
especially the elect, are the end for which God created all things. 
The end of all things is Christ as man. For this glory was the due 
of such a man, viz., that all things should serve Him, be ordained 
for Him, and look to Him as their end. But Christ is for God and 
His glory, and therefore all glory is to be given, not to Paul or 
ApoUos, but to God alone. 

S. Chrysostom {Horn. 10 Moral.) says beautifully: '■^ All that we 
are and all that we have comes from Christ : life and lights and spirit, 
arid air and earth. If any of these be taken fro?n us tve perish, for 
we are but strangers and pilgrims. ' Mine and thine ' are, when 
carefully considered, but empty words. Though you may speak of your 
house as being your own, you speak foolishly ; for indeed the air, the 
earth, the material of which it is made, yourself who build it, arid all 
other thifigs are the property of the Creator. Even if the use of it is 
yours it is of uncertain duration, tiot only because of death, but also 
because of the uncertainty of all things before death. For we are 
Gods in two ways — by creation arid re-creation; and if your soul is 
not your own, how can you say that your money is ? Since, therefore, it 
is not your own, you should expend it upon your fellow-servants. Do 
not say, then, ' I spend my own.^ It is not your ozvn, it is another's . 
nay, it is common to thee and thy fellozv-servant, like as the sun and 
air and all things are." 


I In what account the ministers ought to be had. 7 IVe have nothing which we 
have not received. 9 The apostles spectacles to the iforld, angels, and men, 
13 the Jilt h and offscouring of the world: 15 yet our fathers in Christ, 16 
who?n we ought to follow. 

LET a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the 
> mysteries of God. 

2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 

3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of 
man's judgment : yea, I judge not mine own self. 

4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified : but he that 
judgeth me is the Lord. 

5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both 
will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the 
counsels of the hearts : and then shall every man have praise of God. 

6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to 
Apollos for your sakes ; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that 
which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. 

7 For who maketh thee to differ /;-<?;« another 1 and what hast thou that thou 
didst not receive ? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou 
hadst not received it ? 

8 Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us : and 
I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you. 

9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed 
to death : for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. 

10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye a}-e wise in Christ ; we are weak, 
but ye are strong ; ye a7-e honourable, but we are despised. 

1 1 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and 
are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place ; 

12 And labour, working with our own hands : being reviled, we bless ; being 
persecuted, we suffer it : 

13 Being defamed, we intreat : we are made as the filth of the world, and 
are the offscouring of all things unto this day. 

14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warnjj'^«. 

15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not 
many fathers : for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 

16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. 

17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timothcus, who is my beloved son, and 



faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which 
be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. 

1 8 Now some are pufTed up, as though I would not come to you. 

19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the 
speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. 

20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 

21 \Vhat will ye? sliall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and iti the 
spirit of meekness ? 


S. Paul proceeds in his task of uprooting the divisions, the pride, and the boasting 
of the Corinthians, and especially of some of their teachers who held him in 
contempt. And — 

i. He shows that he cares nothing for their judgment, or for that of 

otlier men, but for God's only. 
ii. He reproves their elation at their gifts (vers. 7. 8). 

iii. And chiefly he urges upon them the example of himself and of the 
other Apostles, who, as the offscouring of the world, preached the 
Gospel with all humility, despised and persecuted by all (vers, 9-14). 
iv. He exhorts them as his children, as having begotten them in Christ, 
and threatens to come soon to Corinth to rebuke and punish these 
false, boastful, and puffed-up teachers (vers. 15-21). 

Ver. I. — Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ. 
I have forbidden you to boast yourselves in Paul or Apollos ; but 
lest any man should therefore despise us, I say that every one 
should regard us as ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries 
of God. 

Kemnitius raises a railing objection based on these last words, 
that the Council of Trent was wrong in relying on this passage to 
prove that the Pope can give dispensation in the matter of vows 
and laws ; for he says that a steward's duty is not to relax laws but 
to distribute goods. I answer that the Council knew this very well ; 
but that its argument was simply this : If the stewardship of the 
affairs of the Church has been intrusted to the Pope, therefore he 
can in certain cases, when there is need, dispense, that is, dissolve 
vows and oaths, and remit penances and the debt of temporal 
punishment, just as the steward of a household can, when the 
honour or profit of his lord demands it, make dispensations, grants, 
or remissions — for this belongs to the office intrusted to him ; only 
he is bound to dispense rightly, not to squander thoughtlessly, as 


S. Bernard snys {de Frccep. et Disp., and de Consid. lib. iii.) : "7/ is 
1-equired in steivards that a mati be fottnd faithful. Where necessity 
urges it, a dispensatiofi is excusable ; where expedience calls for it, it is 
laudable. I tnean, of course, expedience which makes for the conwion 
good, not that of the individual ; for where neither of these exists, 
not only is a dispensatio7i a breach of faith, it is a heartless act of 

The word used here, "steward," denotes one who has charge of 
a house, and rules, divides, and arranges everything in it ; one, 
too, who gives gifts and remits debts, when lie believes sincerely 
that to do so would be pleasing to his lord, or make for his honour 
and advantage. His chief virtues are prudence and faithfulness. So 
does the Pope, as steward of the Church and vicegerent of Christ, 
ordain everything, grant indulgences, and dispense with vows. 

The mysteries of God mentioned here are the mystic secrets of 
Divine doctrine and of the Sacraments of Christ. For both these 
are mysteries of Christ, intrusted by him to Paul and the other 
Apostles as His stewards. Hence it was that the strife and divi- 
sions of the Corinthians arose from a dispute about the Sacrament 
of baptism, inasmuch as one would boast that he had received 
baptism from Paul, another from Apollos. Cf. ch. i. 13. 

Ver. 2. — Moreover, it is required in steioards that a man be found 
faithful. You have been called from the study of wisdom and 
human eloquence to the simple and lowly teaching of Christ, so as 
not to dispute whether Paul or Apollos is the wiser or the more 
eloquent; and I have said that both of us are stewards of this 
teaching. Perchance, as you are always ready to draw comparisons 
between us, you will now begin to dispute about our stewardship, 
and ask, as men will, which of us is the more faithful in his office of 
preacher. IMany of you say that Paul is the more faithful and more 
powerful, but Apollos more eloquent. Each will boast of his own 
teacher, and say that he is better and more faithful than we. There- 
fore to cut away all occasion for comparison let me tell you that 
I care nothing for the judgment of you or of any other man, but 
for God's alone. So says Theophylact, following Chrysostom. 


The chief quaHty required in a steward is faithfulness. S. Paul 
alludes to the words of Christ : " Who then is a faithful and wise 
steward?" (S. Luke xii. 42). Theophylact says : ''■ He is faithful if 
he does not regard his mastet^s goods as his own, if he does not treat 
them as if he were otvner of thefn, but distribute them as another's 
and his master's: if he does not speak of them as his oivn, but on the 
contrary say that what is his own belongs to his master." So, too, is 
a teacher or preacher faithful who does not seek his own glory, but 
the glory of God and the conversion of souls, and do all he can to 
forward those two objects, not only by his preaching, but also by a 
perfect example of a holy life. 

Ver. 3. — Btit zvith me it is a very small thing . . . or of man's 
judgment. The Latin version gives "of man's day." The mean- 
ing is the same ; for the " day of the Lord " is frequently put for the 
"judgment of the Lord," and a day is commonly named for de- 
fendants to appear for judgment. Cf. S. Jerome {ad Algas. qu. 
X.). He adds that Paul, as a native of the Cilician Tarsus, used 
the Greek idiom common there, and called " human judgment " 
"man's day." 

It would, however, be better to say that Paul, being a Hebrew, 
borrowed this from the idiom of the Hebrews. For he is allud- 
ing to Jer. xvii. 16, where Jeremiah, being mocked and persecuted 
because of his prophecies, says : " Neither have I desired man's 
day; Thou knowest." The day of man is that wherein man 
prospers, and is honoured and praised by all as powerful, happy, 
and enviable. Jeremiah's meaning, then, is : "I have not desired 
longer life, prosperity, riches, honours, pleasures, or the applauses 
of men ; for if I had looked for such things I should not have 
prophesied to them of sadness and disaster, but I should have 
praised their glory and their lusts ; but this I did not do, nor 
desired man's day or his applause. For I know that man is but 
frail and miserable, and quickly to vanish away in death with all 
his goods and glory. Knowing this and recollecting it, I have not 
desired to please man in my prophecies and teachings, but to 
please and obey Thee, alone, O God, and to win commendation 


from none but Thee, and I call upon Thee to be my witness to 
this by saying, 'Thou knowest,' just as Job did when he said (xvi. 
19), 'Behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.'" 

So, too, say S. Jerome, Rabanus, Hugo, S. Tiiomas, and others. 
In imitation of Jeremiah, therefore, the Apostle says: "With me 
it is a very small thing to be judged of you or of man's day." In 
other words, he cared little for the power and wisdom of this 
world, for man's favour and applause. Happy he who could say, 
"I have not desired man's day," and call God for a witness to his 
truth. This is the height of perfection which enables a man to 
count all things as dross if only he can gain Christ. This noble 
portion was that of Moses, who abjured his position as son of 
Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the 
people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. 

S. Chrysostom well moralises here : " Let us not, therefore, seek 
the praises of men. For to do so is to offer an insult to God, as though 
we counted His praise insttfficient, and so passed Him by, and strove 
for that of our feliow-servajits. For as those who contend for the 
mastery in a small arena seek for themselves a larger, because they 
think that the other is not large enough to display their prowess, so 
do they who contend in the sight of God pass by the larger aretta, 
when they seek for the applause of tnett, and heap up for themselves 
punishment through their lust for the lesser good. Everything has 
been perverted, the whole world overturned, by this desire of ours to 
do everything for the sake of men, by our watit of diligence in good 
7Vorks, by our disdai7iing the praise of God, and seeki7ig only that of 
our felloiv-servants. In our crimes, again, we despise God, and fear 
man ; for if man were present zve should abstain from fornication, 
and even though our best burnt more fiercely its violence would be held 
in check by very shame lest we be seen by man. But when none but 
God sees us, we not only are guilty of adultery and fornicatio?i, but 
we have dared and still dare to cof/imit far more heinous wickedness. 
Would not this alone be enough to bring down upon us Gods avenging 
thunders ? Hence it is that all our woes have sprung, because in our 
disgraceful actions we fear not God but man.''' 


S. Chrysostom again {Horn. 17 in Ep. ad Rom.) says: ''Just as 
hoys in play put on each other's heads crowns of hay, and often laugh 
behind his back at the boy they have crowned, so too do those who speak 
you fair to your face jeer at you quietly among themselves. What 
else is this but placing crowns of hay on each other's heads 1 Would 
it were nothing else but hay .' But as it is, this croivti of ours is 
full of warning to us, for it destroys all that we have rightly done. 
Consider, then, its value ; flee from the loss it entails. For if there are 
a hundred, or a thousand, or a host without number to applaud you, 
yet all of them are nothing more tha?i chattering jackdaws. Nay, if 
you but think of the cloud of angel-ivitnesses they will seem viler than 
worms, and their words more flimsy than cobwebs, more fleeting than 
smoke, or than a drea7n of the night. Say to thy soul what Paul said, 
' Knowest thou not that we shall judge angels}^ Then call it atvay 
from such a feast, atid chide it, and say, ' Dost thou that art to sit in 
judgment o?i angels wish to be judged by such uncleaji spirits?^ " 

S. Jerome too {ad Fammach.) wisely says : " The first monastic 
virtue is to despise the judgfnent of men, and always to bear in mind 
the words of the Apostle, ' Jf yet I pleased me?t I should not be the 
servant of Christ.' Some such saying, too, did God address to the 
Frophets when He told them that He would make their face as a city 
of brass, and an adatnantine stone, a?id an iron pillar, that they 
?night not tre?nble at the threats of the people, but with un?noved brow 
tread under foot the impudent jeers of their adversaries.'^ 

Lastly, Anselm says here : " The righteous look not for man's judg- 
ments but for the award of the Eternal Judge, and therefore with Faul 
they despise the words of detractors." 

This is what one of the Saints meant when he said, " If you wish 
to be happy learn to despise and to be despised." Yea, I judge 
not mine own self. I cannot certainly judge myself, my works, my 
motives, my conscience. 

Ver. 4. — For I know nothing by myself, yet am I not hereby justi- 
fied. I do not judge myself For though I am not conscious of 
any unfaithfulness in my Apostolic office, yet I am not really just: 
I do not mean in the sight of men, for I do not care for their 


judgment : I mean in the sight of God, who perhaps sees in 
me sins that I do not. Hence S. Basil {Constit. Monast c. i) says : 
" Although tti many things we all offejid, yet we have no conception at 
all of the greater part of our offences. This is why the Apostle otice 
said, *■ I knoiv jw thing by fnyself yet am I not hereby justified.^ It is 
as if he had said, ' / commit many venial sins of which I am not 
aware.' For the same rtasofi the prophet said, ' Who understands his 
offences 1 ' You will not then be saying what is not true if you call 
yourself a sinner.^'' 

From this we can argue against the Protestants that the justified 
have no sure Icnowledge, much less faith that they are justified. 
They reply that S. Paul means here that as regards his works he 
did not know that he was justified, but that he had a sure know- 
ledge of it from faith and Holy Scripture, which promise justification 
to every one that believeth on Christ. In other words, they say that 
they know that they are justified, not because they are free from 
sins, and live holy lives, but through God's mercy accepting their 
belief in the free gift of justification by Christ. But this answer of 
theirs is frivolous and feigned, for the Apostle goes on to say, 

Ver. 5. — Therefore judge nothing before the time, tint il the Lord come, 
who both will bring to light, &c. He will reveal the thoughts and 
actions of men that lie hid in darkness. He means, then, that to 
God alone are naked and open the hidden things of man, his 
intentions, his secret motives, and the depths of his heart, which 
is to him like a bottomless sea, and therefore that none but God 
sees man's justification. None, therefore, save God should judge 
another, or even himself, for his faith, his works, or the grace of 
Christ. For we often think that we are doing right when we are 
acting amiss : we often suppose that we are led by the grace of 
Christ, and act out of love for Him, when all the time we are im- 
pelled by our own lust or by the love of our own fame. Cf 
Chrysostom and Ambrose and S. Jerome {Dial. 2 contra Telag.). 
S. Augustine, too, has some beautiful remarks on this point in his 
sermon on Ps. xlii., where he says that the deep of human misery and 
blindness calls to the deep of Divine mercy and illumination. 


This argument is confirmed by the following reflections : (i.) that 
God even does not look upon us as justified by works but by faith, 
and this, according to the Protestants, we know of as well as God 
does ; for we believe, they say, by faith. Therefore, according to 
them, what the Apostle says is false; for he says that God alone 
knows it and not we. (2.) The words which say that God brings to 
light the hidden things of darkness, and makes manifest the counsels 
of the hearts, do not mean that God surveys and manifests men's 
faith, but their designs, their motives, and works. (3.) Just as the 
nature of our works is uncertain to us, so too is our faith, which 
according to Protestants alone justifies : for no man can know for a 
certainty that he believes on Christ with a faith that is firm and 
Divine, and therefore still less can he know that he is justified by 
it The Holy Spirit often says the same elsewhere. Cf Eccl. ix. i ; 
Prov. XX. 9 ; Job ix. 21 ; Jer. xvii. 9. 

Ver. 6, — And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred 
to myself, &c. "Above that which is written" may refer (i.) to 
ch. i. 2, 3 ; or (2.) with S. Chrysostom it may mean "contrary to 
that which is written " in Holy Scripture against pride. It is foolish, 
therefore, for the Protestants to abuse this passage into an argument 
against tradition. S. Paul evidently means that what he had said 
against their idle boasting of the gifts of their teachers, and about 
not caring for the applause and opinion of men, but only for God's, 
had been said of them in the person of himself and Apollos. He 
had been speaking of others in his own name, so as to avoid offend- 
ing any of the Corinthian teachers, or their disciples, by mentioning 
their names. That ye might learn in us, therefore, is the expression 
of his desire, that when he speaks of himself or Apollos, they may 
apply what he said to the other teachers, who had been the occasion 
of the schism, of which he and Apollos were guiltless. He urges 
the Corinthians by his own example of moderation and conciliatory 
disposition not to be puffed up, or boast of one against another, viz., 
for this or that catechist or teacher, by saying, " I was baptized by 
Paul ; I was converted by Apollos." It is, too, an exhortation to 
the teachers not to be proud and puffed up because they might be 


wiser or more eloquent than other teachers, or boast of their disciples 
as being better instructed than those of other teachers, above that 
which he had just now written. Do not boast of your own teaching, 
nor give occasion of boasting to your disciples, is the gist of this 

For in what follows he is reproving the teachers rather than 
disciples ; but he does it in a mild way and under another name, 
the teachers, I mean, who had been the chief cause of the empty 
contention and divisions among his Corinthian disciples. This 
will be seen by reference to ch. v. 15, 18, 19, and also ch. iii. 10, 
as well as to the whole of ch. xi. of the Second Epistle. For the 
false teachers whom he here speaks of mildly, because they had 
not yet disclosed their true nature, are the same apparently as 
those that in 2 Cor. xi. he speaks more severely of as impostors, 
and guilty of Judaising, and teaching false doctrine. Hence, as 
Chrysostom, Theophylact, and CEcumenius point out, S. Paul first 
censures the teachers in the words, " that ye might learn in us not 
to think of men above that which is written," i.e.^ that you, teachers, 
might learn from me and Apollos that you are, as I said before, 
merely stewards of God. Then he proceeds to rebuke the disciples 
in the words, "that no one of you be puffed up for one against 
another," i.e., that no disciple boast of his teacher as wiser or more 
eloquent than another. S. Paul, then, while he seems to continue 
his address to the Corinthians, is in them and through them re- 
proving their teachers. Just so a tutor endowed with tact and 
judgment will, when he wishes to chide a king's sons, chide their 
servants, as if they were guilty, that so the princes may take it to 

The expression " puffed up, " to describe one that is proud and 
swollen with arrogance, is a figure borrowed from wine skins. They 
are said to be puffed out when by being filled with air they resemble 
in form and size a solid body. Similarly, the proud man who is well 
satisfied with his knowledge, or eloquence, or some such gift, but 
within is devoid of all such powers, is just like a wine-skin that is 
swollen out with wind. 


Ver. 7. — For zvho maketh thee to differ from another 1 i. The 
Greek word denotes as much the act of placing a man above others 
as separating him and dividing him off from them. So Theophy- 
lact paraphrases it, " By whose suffrage was it that this separation 
and pre-eminence was given thee ? ' It was not of men, but of God. 
It is God's to make to differ and to judge, and therefore you ought 
not to care for man's judgment. So understood, these words hark 
back to ver. 4. 

2. But it is better to understand them : Who gives you any pre- 
eminence over the herd of your fellow-Christians, O Corinthian cate- 
chumen? No one but yourself, who are puffed up, because you 
think that you have been baptized and taught by one that is a more 
holy, eloquent, and wise teacher than others : even so it does not 
follow that you share in his good qualities. It is this schismatic 
spirit that the Apostle has before him, as is evident from what has 
gone before, and as is pointed out by Ambrose, Anselm, and 

3. But what, it seems to me, is most within the scope of the 
Apostle's aim, who, as I said, is addressing the teachers, is this : 
Who, O teacher, makes you to differ from another, as to be a better 
teacher and a better Christian, but yourself, who vainly extol your 
own wisdom and eloquence above that of others, or of your followers 
whom you have taught, as Psaphon did his birds, to sing your 
praises? If you say, "It is my labour, my zeal and industry, that 
mark me off from others," I answer, "What hast thou that thou 
didst not receive ? " Thy talent for labour, thy abilities, and all the 
natural gifts of which you boast came to you from God. Much 
more came from Him thy supernatural gifts ; therefore to Him give 
all the glory. S. Ephrem {de Pcenitentia) wisely says : " Offer to 
God what is not thine own, that He may give thee what is His." 
Hence the Council of Arausica (Can. 22) lays down that we have 
nothing of our own except falsehood and sin. This is the literal 
sense, and the Apostle's meaning. 

Nevertheless, we must take notice that S. Augustine frequently, 
Prosper, Fulgentius and the Council of Arausica (Can. 6) transfer 


these words of the Apostle's by parity of reasoning from the natural 
gifts of eloquence and wisdom, primarily referred to here, to the 
supernatural gifts of grace, and to God's predestination. If, they 
say, natural gifts and good works achieved by natural strength alone, 
as well as the labour, zeal, and industry of teachers, effect nothing 
for grace and holiness ; and if those gifts do not warrant a man in 
boasting himself of his natural abihties, much less will they allow 
him to glory in the sphere of the supernatural, that they have made 
him holy, or more holy than others. This is the reason why S. 
Augustine refers these words to grace and predestination, in the 
sense that no one can separate himself from the mass of sinful 
human nature and make a beginning of his own salvation, by his 
own efforts and his own natural strength, as the Pelagians and Semi- 
pelagians held. 

It is, then, not the powers of nature but God that separates the 
man justified from the man not justified ; for God is the great First 
Cause of all the gifts that the justified has, in such a way that he 
has nothing to mark him off from the non-justified, save what he has 
received from God. He is, therefore, debarred from all boasting. 
This, however, does not remove the fact that all this at the same time 
depends for its efficacy on the free co-operation of our will. For as 
S. Augustine lays down, through free-will assisted by grace, he who is 
converted can separate himself from him that is not. He says {de 
Spir. et Lit. c. 34) : " To yield to the call of God, or to resist it, is an 
act of my ozvn will. And this not only does not weaken the force of 
the words, ' What hast thou that thou didst ?iot receive V it even 
strengthens them. The soul cannot receive and have the gifts spoken 
of here except by consenting ; ajid through this consent what it has, 
and what it receives, are of God. For to receive and to have are the 
acts of one that receives and has." In other words they are the acts 
of one that consents freely to the grace of God calling him. S. 
Bernard {de Grat. ct lib. Arbit.) says tersely: " JVhat God gives to 
our free-tvill can no more be given zvithout the corisent of the receiver 
than without the grace of the Giver." 

If then it be asked : What makes a man that believes to differ 


from one that refuses to believe, it being understood that each 
received from God an equal grace of calling to faith, — I should 
reply : He that believes does so through free-will, and not through 
his natural powers, as Pelagius supposed, and through the strength 
given him by Grace he makes himself to differ from one that 
believes not. For it was in his own power to assent, or not to 
assent, to grace, and therefore to believe or not to believe : when, 
then, he believes, he does so freely : he assents freely to the grace of 
God ; he freely distinguishes himself from him that believes not. 

It may be said that he can boast himself, then, of having so dis- 
tinguished himself from the other. But I answer that boasting is ex- 
cluded, since he should attribute the chief glory, nay, the whole to 
God, by whose grace he has so separated himself. The reason is that 
by the strength of grace alone, not by natural powers, did he perform, 
or have power to do, or to wish for, the act by which he separated 
himself. From the same source came his strength for the embracing 
of grace, which is not distinguishable from assent to it, and for any 
attempt, or movement, or inclination towards it. For in that act 
there is not the least ground for saying that it has been effected by the 
power of free-will alone ; for the whole of it, as far as its substance and 
real modes is concerned, is of grace and all of free-will ; just as every 
work is wholly from God as its first cause, and wholly also from its 
secondary cause- But from grace it has it that it is supernatural 
and meritorious, and thence comes all its worth ; it has from free- 
will its freedom only. As, then, the act itself and the co-operation 
of free-will spring from grace exciting them and co-operating with 
them, a man can no more boast of his co-operation and election 
than a beggar who is offered a hundred pieces of gold can boast 
of his having accepted them. And all that the Apostle means is 
that no one can so boast himself of anything as though he had not 
received it from God. Otherwise, all virtue by itself, and the 
virtuous man by himself, are worthy of praise and honour; but 
this praise and virtue must be attributed to God; for whoever 
converts himself and separates himself from others does so not by 
his own natural abilities but by the power of the grace of God. 


Nor is it to be said that the Apostle's meaning is otherwise from 
the fact of his speaking literally, as I said before, of differences in 
wisdom, eloquence, and other natural gifts, which undeniably a man 
can acquire, or excel in by his own labours, zeal, and industry, and 
so make himself to differ from others less learned, and can also 
therefore give his own labour and zeal the credit, and boast 
moderately of his advancement. The Apostle is merely excluding 
that boasting which arises from pride and contempt of others : as 
if, for instance, you were to arrogantly boast that what you have is 
your own and came not from God. This is evidently S. Paul's 
meaning, from the words he adds: "Now if thou didst receive it, 
why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it ? " If, then, you 
accommodate this sentence to supernatural things, it only excludes, 
according to S. Paul's meaning, that boasting which arises from a 
pride despising others, attributing all to itself, and not referring 
everything to God and His grace as the first Well-spring of all. 
But you do not do this if you say that by the power of God's grace 
you have freely distinguished and divided yourself from sinners 
who prefer to remain in their sin ; for you then give the praise and 
glory first and last to God and His grace. All the same, however, 
free-will has its own praise and glory, though that praise and glory, 
be it recollected, was received by the grace of God. 

From what has been said it follows that he who is converted is to 
be distinguished from him who is not, and that he is converted as 
well by grace as by free-will. For although both have prevenient 
grace, which is often equally exerted on many, yet the one has as 
well co-operating grace, which is wanting to the other who has no 
wish to be converted, and by this he is freely distinguished from 
the other and converted. Moreover, it was foreseen that his pre- 
venient grace would be effectual in him here and now ; and because 
God foresaw this, He predestinated him to it, knowing that with 
it he would most surely co-operate and be converted : but such 
grace He does not give to another man who is not converted. We 
are, therefore, in general to think of this as the actual cause of our 
conversion and salvatioa For this effectual grace is peculiar to 

VOL. I, F 


the predestinate and the elect, if only it remains with them to the 
end of their life, as S. Augustine says. Hence, it is clear that it is 
not so much free-will as grace that divides the just from the unjust : 
for grace effects the conversion and justification of the righteous 
man who does not hinder the efificaciotis working of grace, but freely 
consents to it. But grace does not do this with the unjust, because 
he places an opposing barrier in the way of grace in refusing to 
consent to it and co-operate with it, and so grace becomes in him 
ineffectual and vain. Wherefore S. Ephrem's advice in c. lo of the 
tractate, *' Look to thyself," is wise, " Have charity with all, and 
abstain from all." For these two, benevolence and continence, are 
the principal marks of holiness, which soften the most barbarous 
of men and bind them to themselves. 

Ver. 8, — Now ye are full. This is, as Chrysostom, Theophylact, 
and Anselm say, ironical. Ye are filled with wisdom and grace, and 
the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and so it is your boast that you are not 
so much Corinthians as teachers, having nothing further to learn of 
Christianity. You think yourselves perfect as teachers when you 
are scarcely disciples at all of the true and perfect wisdom. S. 
Chrysostom says, " To be satisfied ivith little is the mark of a weak 
mind : a7id to think one's self rich by a s??iall addition of means is 
the mark of one that is sick and miserable ; but true godlitiess is 
never satisfied" 

S. Thomas notices that S. Paul here points out four kinds of pride 
in the Corinthians, or rather in their teachers. First, when one 
thinks that he has from himself and not from God whatever good he 
possesses : this is alluded to in the words, " Why dost thou glory as 
if thou hadst not received it?" In these words also is contained 
the second, which is, when any one attributes to his own merits 
whatever good he has. The third is when one boasts that he has 
what he has not, and this is touched in the words, "Now ye are full ; 
now ye are rich." The fourth is when one despises others, and 
wishes to stand in a class by himself : this is pointed at in the 
words, "Ye have reigned as kings without us." 

Ye have reigned as kings without us. Without our help, you think, 


O Corinthians, that you triumphantly excel over all God's saints; 
and especially you, O teachers, as if you had been given a kingdom, 
claim for yourselves, while excluding us, a supreme dignity. 

And I would to God that ye did reign, that tve also might reign 
with you. As your followers and rivals, or better as being your 
fathers : for this as a matter of fact we are. So Theophylact, 
Chrysostom, and Anselm. He does not decline to have partners 
in the kingdom of God, i.e, in the government of the Church ; he 
only requires them to rule as they ought, that is, to devote them- 
selves to the salvation of the faithful. 

Ver. 9. — For I think that God hath set forth us, the Apostles, last, 
as it were appoitited to death, (r.) He contrasts himself and the 
true Apostles with those vain teachers who sought their own glory 
and their own advantage. I would, he says, that we Apostles 
were reigning with you ; for so far, I think, are we from reigning 
triumphantly, that God has exhibited us to the world as the last 
and most despised of all, as though destined to a well-deserved 
death. (2.) The simpler meaning is, we are the last to have been 
sent into the world in these last times. We have been marked out 
by God for death, as, e.g., by means of wild beasts — not for a king- 
dom or triumphs, but for death, persecution, and martyrdom. So 
Tertullian understands it. 

Observe that the Apostles are called last, as compared with those 
Prophets that went before them, as Isaiah and Jeremiah and others, 
who were sent by God as Apostles to the Jews and others (Isa. vi. 9). 
Especially does he call himself last of all, as having been called to his 
Apostleship by Christ ascended, after the other Apostles had been 
called by Christ living on the earth. 

Moreover, "set forth" denotes (i.) marked out, (2.) made or ex- 
hibited, and, as Ephrem terms it, appointed. Cf. Ps. Ix. 3 and Ixxi. 
20. (3.) It denotes put forward publicly as an example to others. 
Hence it follows — 

For we are made a spectacle tmto the world, and to angels, and to 
men. They were placed, as it were, in a theatre, like those con- 
demned to die by fighting with wild beasts before the eyes of the 


populace. There seems to be an allusion here to the public games 
of Rome and other places, where men fought with wild beasts in 
the arena. The world, he says, delights to regard us as fools, 
dealers in secret arts, or babblers of novelties, or better still, as 
men condemned to the beasts. 

Observe that "the world" here is a generic name for "angels 
and men ; " for they were the only beings to gaze upon the Apostles. 
Hence, in the Greek, " world " has the article, and the two other 
terms are without it. We are made, he says, to the good angels an 
object of compassionate regard, as well as of worthy admiration and 
honour. But since evil angels and evil men rejoice in our being 
despised, persecuted, and put to death, we are made a spectacle to 
evil angels of hatred and rejoicing, as well as of confusion and terror. 
To good men we are a spectacle and example of fortitude, faith, 
innocence, patience, meekness, constancy, and holiness of life. So 

S. Chrysostom {Horn. 12 in Moral.) applies this to the theatre of 
this life, in which we do everything in the presence of God. So, 
Suetonius says, S. Augustine, when about to die, said to his friends 
standing round him, " Have I played my part pretty well on this 
stage and in this theatre ? " — " Very well," his friends replied. Then 
he rejoined, "Applaud me, therefore, as I take my departure;" and 
having said this he gave up the ghost. Better and still more appro- 
priate was the use of these words made by Edmund Campian, Eng- 
land's noble martyr, well named Campianus, a true wrestler and 
champion of Christ, who, when about to suffer martyrdom, publicly 
gave out these words as the text of his last sermon. Such a theatri- 
cal spectacle was what the Apostle here primarily intends. Cicero 
says (qu. 2, Tucsul.) that there is no fairer sight than that of a vir- 
tuous and conscientious life, and so among Christians there is 
nothing more beautiful than martyrdom. 

The illustrious Paula appositely and piously replied, as S. Jerome 
says in his eulogy of her, to some caviller who suggested that she 
might be considered by some insane, because of the fervour of her 
virtues : " We are made a spectacle unto the world and to angels 


and to men ; we are fools for Christ's sake ; but the foolishness of 
God is wiser than men. Hence, too, the Saviour said to His Father, 
'Thou knowest My foolishness!' and again, 'I was made as it 
were a monster unto many, but be Thou My strong helper. I 
became as a beast before Thee, and I am always with Thee.'" 

Lastly, S. Chrysostom {//i Ep. ad Rom. Hom. 17) teaches from 
this that we ought to ily from eye-service, that is, from serving 
the eyes of men, that so we turn our eyes towards the eyes of God, 
and live perpetually in His sight and before Him. There are, he 
says, two theatres : one most spacious, where sits the King of kings, 
surrounded by His shining hosts, to view us ; the other most insig- 
nificant, where stand a few Ethiopians, i.e., men ignorant of what 
is going on. It is, therefore, the height of madness to pass by this 
most spacious theatre of God and of the angels, and to be content 
with the theatre of a few Ethiopians, and laboriously to strive to 
please them. When you have a theatre erected for you in the 
heavens, why do you gather together spectators for yourself on 
earth? S. Bernard {Scrm. 31 inter parvos) treats these words 
somewhat differently, though his application of them is the same. 
He says : " We are made a spectacle tmto the world, to angels and 
to men, good and bad alike. The passion of envy inflaines the one, 
the compassion born of pity makes the others minister to Jis con- 
tinttally ; the one desires to see 01/ r fall, the other our iipivai-d flight. 
We are undoubtedly halfway betivee7i heaven and hell, between the 
cloister and the world. Both consider diligently what ive do, both say, 
' Would that he would join us I' Their intention is different, but 
their wishes, perhaps, not tinlike. But if the eyes of all are thus 
2ipon t/s, whither have our friends g07te, or tvhy did they alone go 
from us ? . . . Let us, then, before it is too late, brethren, rise, nor 
receive in vain our souls for which, 'whether for good or evil, others 
so zealously watch.^'' 

Ver. 10. — We are fools for Chrisfs sake, but ye are wise in Christ. 
This is a continuation of the irony of ver. 8. We are reckoned 
fools because of Christ crucified, whom we preach, and for whose 
sake we seem to expose ourselves rashly to so many dangers. For 


the Cross is to the Greeks foolishness. But you in your own eyes 
are wise in the Gospel of Christ, because of the eloquence and 
philosophy which you mingle with it, and because you take care to 
so preach Christ that you run no risk for His sake. 

JFe are tveak, as bearing without resistance many grievous adver- 
sities, such as hunger, thirst, nakedness, toils, injuries, cursings, 
persecutions, as is said in ver. ii. 

But ye are strong. For you easily by your worldly eloquence, 
wisdom, and friendship turn the edge of all evils that attack you. 

Ye are hojiourable^ but we -are despised. You are honoured, we are 
held in no honour. He teaches modestly, but yet sternly by his 
own example as a teacher, that the Christian's boast must not be in 
renown, wealth, wisdom, eloquence, or the applause of men, but in 
being despised by others, and in despising glory, and in the Cross 
of Christ ; and especially is this true of the Christian teacher and 
preacher. So S. Chrysostom. And in this way he endeavours to 
shame these self-indulgent, vain, and luxurious teachers, and also the 
Corinthians who preferred to follow such men, rather than the 
Apostles of Christ, who were giving for them their strength, their 
substance, and their lives. So Isaiah (viii. i8) says, in the name of 
himself and the other Prophets, as well as of Paul and the Apostles, 
*' Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for 
signs and for w-onders in Israel." And as the Annales Mitioruin 
relate, S. Francis used to say that he was a despised fool of Christ's 
in the world, and was for this beloved of Christ Himself. 

Ver. II. — Even mito this present hour we . . . have no certain 
dwelling-place. This remarkable description of the Apostle's life is 
very like that contained in the Second Epistle (xi. 23), which those 
that are called to the ministry ought to put before them as an 
example, as the Apostolic men of great zeal do in England, Holland, 
India, and Japan. 

S. Chrysostom (^Hom. 52 oti Acts of the Apostles') says excellently 
on the words of xxvi. 29 : " Such is the soul that is raised on high by 
celestial love that it thinks itself a prisoner for Christ because of the 
greatness of the promised glory. For as one in love has no eyes for any 


save her he loves, who is to him everythifig, so he who has been laid 
hold of by Chrisfs fire becomes like one who should be living alone on 
the earth, cariftg nothing for glory and shatne. For he so utterly 
despises temptations and scoiirgings and imprisonmeiit that it is as 
though another body endured them, or as though he possessed a body 
fnade of gra?iite. For he laughs at those things which are pleasant in 
this life ; he does not feel their force as we do ; his body is to him as 
the body of one dead. So far is he from being taken captive by any 
passion, as gold that has been purified in the fire is from skoiving any 
stain. All this is effected by the love of man for God, when it is 
great." But we do not attain this height because we are cold, and 
ignorant of this Divine philosophy. The philosopher Diogenes saw 
this, though but darkly and afar off, for when he was asked what 
men were the noblest, he replied, " They that despise riches and 
glory and pleasure and life ; they that draw their force from the 
opposite things to these, from poverty, obscurity, hunger, thirst, toil 
and death." Diogenes saw this, but could not practise it, for he was 
himself a slave to vain-glory. 

Ver. 12. — Being reviled, we bless. Infidels and Jews mock us, 
and call down imprecations on us, saying, " Let these new preachers 
of a crucified God be slain, let them perish and hang on the 
accursed cross." We, however, pray for their peace, that God would 
give them His light. His grace, and salvation. S. Basil (Jn Feg. 
Brevior. 226) points out that to do evil and to do good are connoted 
by reviling and blessing. He says : " We are biddoi to be patietit 
towards all, and to return kindly deeds to those who persecute us 
unjustly. JVe are to love fervently, not only those that curse us, but 
whosoever shows us unkindness in any way whatever, that so we may 
obey the precept, ' Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with 
good: " 

Ver. 13. — Being defamed, we entreat. When we are reviled, 
called evil dealers in evil arts, and railed at. The word "blas- 
pheme" has this meaning also in Tit. iii. 2. When thus treated 
we speak with meekness after the manner of suppliants, as the 
Greek Fathers take it, or else we entreat God for them. But the 


first is nearer the Greek. S. Basil {Reg. 226, quoted above) renders 
it "comfort," in the sense of filling their minds with a perception of 
the truth. Comfort is used in this sense in Rom. i. 12. 

IVe are made as the filth of the 7uorld. We are made, as 
Theophylact and Theodoret say, as it were the excrement of the 
world — not once, but always, down to this present hour. We are 
made like filth that has been collected from all sides, is the literal 
force of the Greek. We are reckoned as most contemptible, as 
wretches unworthy of man's society, fit only to be driven away and 

S. Paul is here alluding to Lam. iii 45 : "Thou hast made us as 
the offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people." For Jere- 
miah was imprisoned by the Jews, cast off, and rejected, and so 
was a type of Paul and the Apostles, imprisoned, rejected, and at 
length slain by the Jews and Gentiles. 

But Gagneius and others translate this word " expiatory victims." 
Hence S. Ambrose, too, commenting on Ps. cxix. 8, reads it, " We 
are made for the world's purging." We should notice that the 
Greek word here used was applied to the wicked men and others 
doomed to sacrifice by the Gentiles, in order to get rid of famine or 
tempests or any other public calamity. So, for instance, did the 
Decii devote themselves for their country, and Curtius, who, to 
banish a common plague and appease the Deity, leaped in full 
armour into a gulf in Rome. So, too, Servius, on the line of the 
^neid, "O accursed thirst for gold, to what villainy do you not 
impel the hearts of men ? " notes that famine is called accursed 
or sacred after the manner of the Gauls. For when the citizens 
of Marseilles were suffering from pestilence, a certain poor man 
offered himself to the state to be fed for a full year on the best 
food at the public expense, and then to be led through the city with 
execration, clothed with evergreens and sacred garments, that on his 
head might fall all the evils of the state ; and then he was either 
sacrificed or drowned. Hence Budseus, following Suidas and others, 
says that Kadapfxara were men dedicated to death, and thrown into 
the sea, bearing the burden of all the wickedness of the state, and 


so sacrificed to Neptune, with the words added : " Be thou our 
expiatory victim." Such a victim was the goat sent into the wilder- 
ness by the Hebrews (Lev. xvi. 21). But the Greek and Latin 
versions support the first meaning in preference, and that gives the 
more literal and simple sense. For S. Paul is here treating of the 
contempt meted out to him and his companions, whereby they were 
spurned by tongue and foot as the vilest wretches living. 

And are the offscoiiritrg of all things 2into this day. Offscouring 
is the translation of a word which denotes such thing;s as scabs, 
nail-parings, and such worthless things as are cast aside and trod- 
den under foot by all. So Chrysostom, Theophylact, Anselm. 
(Ecumenius understands it to mean a little rag or cloth by which 
sweat is wiped off the face; others follow Budasus, and take it to 
mean "expiatory victim," as I have said. This is supported, too, 
by the Syriac Version. 

Vers. 14, 15. — / write not these things . . . for in Christ Jesus 
I have begotten yo2i through the Gospel. And therefore I alone am 
your spiritual father. Other teachers are but schoolmasters who 
educate the child sent them by the father. Paul hints that the 
Corinthians should be ashamed of themselves for passing by the 
Apostles, who had converted them to Christ, and who were suffering 
so much for their sake, and for following after vain-glorious teachers, 
and for wishing to be called their disciples. 

Ver. 17. — JVho shall bring you into remembra?tce of my ways. 
My doctrine and Christian life, say S. Thomas and Anselm. 

In Christ. In Cluist's religion. 

Ver. 20. — For the Kingdom of God is not i?i word but in poiver. 
The spiritual energy and Christian, and especially Apostolic per- 
fection, in which God reigns, and displays in us and in the Church 
the effectual working of the Gospel of His grace and Spirit, are not 
to be found in eloquence, but in the powerful working of the Holy 
Spirit, viz., in convincing speech, in the power of miracles, in the 
expulsion of demons, and, as Theophylact and Cajetan say, still 
more in the sufferings of the Apostle's life described in vers. 9-1 1, 
and in conversion of character and in holy living. So, too, say S. 


Chrysostom and Anselm : For S. John Baptist did no miracle, and 
yet began to preach the Kingdom of God in the power of a holy 
life, in the spirit and efficacy of preaching and exhortation. Cf. the 
parallel expression in Rom. xiv. 17. 

Ver. 21. — What will ye 1 Shall I come unto you with a rod? 
Such as becomes the father I spoke of in ver. 15. The rod is 
a symbol of severity of rebuke and power of punishing. So Chry- 
sostom, Theophylact, Anselm. 

Observe here the power of punishing lodged in the Church and 
her prelates, and exercised by Paul in the next chapter. CEcumenius 
and Cajetan refer these words of the Apostle's to the next chapter, 
in which he sternly rebukes the Corinthians for the incest of the 
fornicator. However, these words can well be joined with the pre- 
ceding, in which he reproved the Corinthians for their pride. 


I The incestuous person 6 is cause rather of shame unto them, than of rejoicing. 
7 The old leaven is to be purged out. lo Heinous offenders are to be shunned 
and avoided. 

IT is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornica- 
tion as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have 
his father's wife. 

2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done 
this deed might be taken away from among you. 

3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, liave judged already, 
as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 

4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and 
my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 

5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that tlie 
spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 

6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the 
whole lump? 

7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are 
unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us : 

8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the 
leaven of malice and wickedness ; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity 
and truth. 

9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators : 

10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, 
or extortioners, or with idolaters ; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 

11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that 
is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a 
drunkard, or an extortioner ; with such an one no not to eat. 

12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye 
judge them that are within? 

13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among 
yourselves that wicked person. 


i. The Apostle proceeds from the schism of the Corinthians to deal with 
the scandal caused by incest among them : he blames them for 
allowing one living openly in incest to remain among them, and 

orders them to excommunicate him and hand him over to Satan. 



ii. He bids them (ver. 6) purge out this and any other leaven of sin, in 
order that they may with purity celebrate the everlasting Passover, 
and so eat the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 

iii. He orders them (ver. 9) not to mingle with Christians that are open 
sinners; but as for heathens and unbelievers, he says that they are 
not under the jurisdiction of him or of the Church. 

Ver. I. — // is reported commonly among you. It is no vague 
rumour, but a well-ascertained fact. 

1. The Gentiles who were not barbarians, but living civilised and 
honest lives, by natural instinct rejected all such intercourse of a 
step-son and step-mother. The poets praise Hippolytus for pre- 
ferring to incur the anger of his father, Theseus, rather than yield 
to the lust of his step-mother, Phcedra. When he w^as solicited by 
Phaedra and refused to consent to the abomination, he was falsely 
accused by her to his father of having solicited her, and was torn 
asunder by him by four horses. There is, however, extant an 
example of such intercourse in Valerius Maximus (lib. v. De Par. 
Amore in Lib.\ in the case of King Seleucus, who, on learning from 
his physician that his son Antiochus was sick unto death from love 
of his wife Stratonice, handed her over to him. 

2. Theodoret, in his preface to this epistle, and Chrysostom here 
say that this fornicator was an eminent and powerful leader of the 
schism at Corinth, and this is why the Apostle proceeds so directly 
from the one sin to the other. 

It may be asked whether this incestuous person took his father's 
wife during his lifetime or afterwards. Some reply that he was 
dead ; but it seems more likely that he was living, from the phrase 
used, "his father's wife," and also from the words of 2 Cor. vii. 12 : 
" I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his 
cause that suffered wrong," which seems plainly to mean the father. 
Anselm and others take the view that the father was still alive. The 
man, therefore, was at once incestuous and an adulterer, and was 
obstinate in his sin ; for without such obstinacy he would not have 
been excommunicated. 

Ver. 2. — And ye are puffed iip. You meanwhile are so occupied 
with your contentious pride that you neglect to correct this inces- 


tuous person by removing him from your society. So Chrysostom, 
Theophylact, and Anselm. Learn from this how careful not only 
prelates but all the faithful should be to remove from the Church 
scandals and their authors. 

Vers. 3, 4. — For I verily as absent in body . . . in the name of our 
Lord Jesus Christ. As it belioves a Pastor and Bishop to be always 
present by vigilant care, even though absent in body from the Church, 
I have already judged, i.e., determined; and by these words I now 
order that he be excommunicated and handed over to Satan, and 
that in the name of Christ, by His authority which I wield when I 
order and judge. 

Chrysostom refers the clause iji the name of our Lord Jesus Ch/ist 
to what follows, when ye are gathered together. Paul means that 
they were to assemble, and in a public congregation of the Church 
they were to excommunicate the incestuous person. This clause, 
thirdly, may be referred to the words to deliver such an one to Satan; 
such delivery and execution of the sentence would be done in the 
power, name, and place of Christ. 

Vers. 4, 5. — When ye are gathered together . . . deliver such an 
one unto Satan. I determine and order, O Corinthians, that when 
you are assembled in the Church, where I shall be present in my 
spirit, i.e., in mind, affection, and the authority given me by Christ, 
this incestuous person be excommunicated and handed over to Satan, 
who rules outside the Church, and is wont in this world to afilict 
the excommunicate not only in soul but also in body. It plainly 
appears from these words that the heretics are wrong in saying 
that the power of excommunicating resides in the whole congrega- 
tion, and not in the prelates. On the contrary, he says, / have 
judged. All that the Apostle means is that the excommunication 
is to be publicly pronounced by whoever was presiding over the 
Church, that others might fear to do the like. Hence, he does 
not say that they were to assemble and hand him over to Satan, 
but whc?! ye are gathered together I have determined to hand him 
over to Satan, i.e., through him who in the name of Christ is in 
charge of your Church in my place, and whose, therefore, it is to 


hand him over. In every state judgment takes place, not by the 
popular voice, but by the judges and magistrates. 

The Apostle, moreover, uses this phrase to denote that this 
spiritual power had been given to the Church, and was exercised 
by himself and by prelates in the name of the Church, not in 
tlie sense that the whole Church has received it directly from 
Christ, but that Christ gave it to Paul and the other Apostles, 
not for themselves, but for the good of the Church ; for as great 
confusion would ensue if each one had to be asked to give his 
sentence, the whole Church discharges this duty by the hands of 
its heads and rulers. Again, as excommunicating is liable to cause 
hatred, Paul wishes it to be done with the consent of the whole 
Church, that so he may win all to his side, and none may protect 
the powerful fornicator and accuse Paul of over severity. Hence 
he leaves, as it were, the judgment to them of his own free-will, 
and out of his modesty he makes them the assessors, approvers, 
and executors of the sentence pronounced by him of public ex- 
communication of the fornicator by the hands of their president. 
So often prudent princes and generals will in a difficult and danger- 
ous matter, when any great officer is to be punished, seek the 
opinion of other great officers, and what is more, leave the 
judging of him to them. So Chrysostom, Ambrose, Theophylact, 

Wit/i the power of our Lord Jesus Christ Connect this with 
deliver, or, better still, as Ambrose does, with when ye are gathered 
together and my spirit. In other words, in this act of excommunica- 
tion the Spirit is present with you, and still more with my spirit. 
For Christ has given His mighty power to His Church, and so 
the Church can, by her rulers and prelates, excommunicate and 
deliver over to Satan the contumacious. 

Ver. 5. — To deliver such an one to Satan. Theophylact thinks 
that by these words Paul actually excommunicates the fornicator, 
but it is truer to say that by them he orders his excommunication to 
be carried out by the prelates in the Corinthian Church. If other- 
wise, he would have said, " I deliver," instead of " I have judged 


to deliver ; " and the same is borne out by his bidding that he be 
dehvered over to Satan in public assembly of the Church. 

1. Observe that the ancients understood this passage of the 
power and act of excommunicating which is lodged in the prelates 
of the Church. So Chrysostom, Anselm, Augustine, and others, 
quoted by Baronius, p. 448, a.d. 57. 

2. The excommunicate are said to be delivered over to Satan, 
because being ejected from the fellowship of Christ and His 
Church, and being deprived of all its benefits, its prayers, suffrages, 
sacrifices, and Sacraments, of the protection of God, and of the care 
of pastors, they are exposed to the tyranny and assaults of the 
devil, whose rule is outside the Church, and who goes about against 
them more than before, and impels them to every kind of evil. 
Cf. Ambrose, Augustine (lib. iii. Ep. contra Parnicn. c. 2), Jerome 
{Ep. I ad Heliod.), Innocent (apud S. Aug. Ep. 51). 

For the destruction of the flesh, i. That the devil may harass him 
with bodily sickness, wounds, and diseases ; that his flesh may be 
brought low and its vigour be destroyed ; that being thus humiliated 
he may learn wisdom. So say Theodoret, Chrysostom, Theophylact, 
CEcumenius, Anselm. 

2. Ambrose and Anselm here, and S. Augustine in the passage 
just cited, explain it to mean, for the destruction of the pleasure of 
the body through this confusion and shame. But though shame 
may restrain a man from the external act when there is danger of 
its being commonly known, yet it does not do away with the inner 
desire of the heart, and therefore the first meaning, which is supported 
by more Fathers, is the more true and suitable. 

From these Fathers we gather, though some deny it, that the 
excommunicate were formally handed over to the devil, and also 
corporally vexed and possessed by him, that they might learn to 
fear excommunication. Theodoret says this expressly here, and also 
at I Tim. iv. 20, and Ambrose too there says that this was the tra- 
dition of his forefathers, and that this is the strict meaning of "the 
destruction of the flesh." Frequent examples of diabolic possession 
are to be found in the lives of the Fathers, and especially in the 


life of S. Ambrose by Paulinus. When Ambrose had deUvered 
a certain man to Satan, the devil at that very moment seized him 
and began to tear him. For this reason Christ, in S. IMatt. x., gave, 
S. Thomas says, to the Apostles power over unclean spirits, both to 
expel them from and to admit them into men's bodies to vex them. 
For other examples, cf. Delrio de Magia (/I'k iii. p. i, qu. 7), Petr. 
Phyraeus (De Daemon, p. ii. c. 30), Lerarius (/« Tob. c. 6, qu. 20). 

That the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. That 
the soul and mind, gaining from this punishment wisdom and 
renewal, may be saved in the day of judgment. Hence it appears 
that the end of excommunication should be borne in mind, which 
is to cause the excommunicate shame and distress, that he may be 
humiliated, and ask to be received back, and seek for pardon from 
God and the Church. The faithful, therefore, should pray secretly 
for him, and endeavour to win him back to unity. 

Ver. 6. — Your gloryijig is not good. Your boasting yourselves 
in 5'our worldly wisdom, which makes you say, " I am of Paul," " I 
of Apollos," is evil and out of place. It were better for you to cast 
down the eyes of your mind, since you allow so great a wickedness to 
exist among you. So Anselm ; Theophylact adds from Chrysostom: 
'■^ He implies obscurely and in a homely way that the Corinthians 
themselves prevented this fornicator fro77t coming to a better 7nind, by 
glorying in his name ; for he was one of their wise teachers.'^ 

A little leaveti leaveneth the 7vhole lump. As yeast penetrates 
every part of a mass of dough with its taste and sharpness, so does 
this one taint of the fornicator penetrate and stain all of you : 
firstly, because for the sake of one man the wrath of God may be 
kindled against you all, and against the whole Church which suffers 
him, as Ambrose and Anselm say ; and secondly, if this man go un- 
punished, others may follow his example, and this one may cause many 
to stumble. So S. Chrysostom. In other words, remove this scandal, 
and separate the man from the Church by excommunicating him. 

Ver. 7. — Purge out, therefore, the old leaven. Eject this fornicator 
from your society, lest like leaven he infect the whole. It follows 
that not the predestinate alone, or hidden sinners, but that public 


sinners, like this fornicator, are in the Church till they are excom- 
municated. So Chrysostom. Although the Apostle refers primarily 
to the incest of the fornicator, yet Chrysostom and Anselm under- 
stand leaven more generally to be fornication, and its concealment, 
and any kind of wickedness and vice, which by parity of reasoning 
the Apostle orders to be removed from the soul of every individual 
and from the whole Church. 

That ye may be a neio lump. That your Church may be once 
more pure. 

As ye are tifikavened. As Chrysostom and Anselm say, as by 
baptism you were made unleavened, i.e., pure from the leaven of 
sin, so consequently you are, or ought to be, from thenceforth 
unleavened, or pure and holy, by calling and profession. It is a 
Hebraism to say that what ought to be is ; and Christians accord- 
ingly are frequently called Saints, because they ought to be. Others 
take ye are strictly to mean that, excepting the one incestuous 
person, they were all unleavened or pure. 

This unleavenedness of heart and life is put before each one at 
baptism, both in words and ceremonies, by the Church, when, after 
signing the head with the sacred Chrism, she clothes the newly 
baptized person with a white robe, and, holding out a lighted candle, 
says to him : " Receive this holy and spotless white robe, and may 
you keep it without spot till you take it before the tribunal of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, and may you gain eternal life and live for ever 
and ever. Amen." Or as S. Jerome has it in his letter to Damasus : 
'•'Receive this burning and blameless light, guard well thy baptism, 
keep God's commandments, that when the Lord cometh to the 
w^edding thou mayest meet Him, together with all His Saints, in the 
court of heaven ; and mayest thou gain eternal life and live for 
ever and ever. Amen." By the white robe and the lighted candle 
are signified (i.) a pure and exemplary life and conversation; (2.) 
freedom from the power of sin and the devil; (3.) victory and 
triumph over them ; for the Romans used to give their servants a 
white robe when they set them free, white being the colour of 
triumph. Of this garment 8. Ambrose {Lib. de lis qui Initiat. c. 7), 

VOL. I. G 


addressing the newly baptized, says : " You have received white 
garments for a testimony that you have cast away the slough of 
sins, and put on the holy garb of innocence." Paulinus thus sings 
of the same thing : — 

"Thence from the sacred font the priest their father brings 
The infants, snowy-white in body, heart, and dress." 

Cf. also S. Augustine, Lactantius, and Victor of Utica, whose words 
I quoted on Rom. vi. 4. 

Hence the Saturday and Sunday immediately after Easter Day 
are called Sabbahwi in albis and Dominica in alln's, because the 
neophytes then used to lay aside their white garments. Yet, as 
Baronius has rightly pointed out (a.d. 58, p. 606), they received a 
white Agnus Dei as it was called, made of paschal wax, and blessed 
by the Bishop, and wore it hung from their neck, that they might 
be ever reminded of purity and innocence, and might learn from 
Christ, the Paschal Lamb, to be thenceforth in every work unleavened, 
pure, meek, and lowly of heart. 

For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. The word for 
denotes : I rightly adjure you to be unleavened and pure, because 
you are keeping the Passover, in which the Jews had no leavened 
thing. As the Passover was a type of Christ, so were the un- 
leavened loaves a type of the baptismal innocence and pure life 
of Christians. The Apostle's argument is based on the allegorical 
meaning of the Passover and the unleavened bread. 

The word Passover has its rise from the passing over of the angel 
of the houses of the Israelites when he saw the blood of the lamb 
that had been sacrificed for the purpose smeared on the doorposts. 
Then by a happy metonymy the lamb sacrificed is called the Pass- 
over, or the Passover victim, i.e.^ the victim slain for the passing over 
of the angel. Then, too, the day itself, and the feast at which this 
happened, and its annual memorial are called the Passover. 

AUegorically this lamb signified Christ. Our Passover, i.e., our 
Paschal Lamb, Christ, was sacrificed for us, that as many as are 
washed with the Blood of His Passion in baptism and the other 


Sacraments may be defended in safety from the destroying angel, 
who passes over them, and h'ghts upon the unbelieving and the 
wicked, who have not been washed with the blood of Christ, to kill 
them with eternal death. For Christ has rescued those that have 
been so washed from Pharaoh's yoke, that is, from the yoke of the 
devil and of sin, and having set them perfectly free He has loaded 
them with all gifts and graces, and daily is adding more. 

S. Bernard {Scrni. i in die Fasc/i.) thus moralises on this 
passage : " Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed. Let us et?il>race those 
virtues com7nended to us by His Cross — huniiiity, patience, obedience, 
and charity. On this great festival let us carefully consider what it 
is that is conwiended to us. It is a resurrection, a fassover, a trans- 
migration. For Christ, my brethren, did not to-day fall again but 
rose again : He did not return. He passed over : He trans7nigrated — 
did not go back. The very feast that ive are celebrating is called the 
Passover, not the ^^ the returning f and Galilee, where He tvho rose 
promises to shoiv Hi?nself to us, does not speak of going back but of 
transmigration. . . . JVe have lately giveti up ourselves to mournifig, 
to pe7titcnce, and prayer — to heavi?tess and fasting. If we have be- 
wailed our 7iegligences, why should we now retur7i to them ? Shall 
we as before be agai7i foimd inquisitive, as fond of talki/ig as before, 
slothful a7id 7iegligent as before, vain, siispicious, backbiters, wrathful, 
and again i7ivolved 171 all the other vices 7uhich 7ve but lately we7-e 
grieving over ? I have zvashed 7ny feet : how shall I again defile 
the77t 2 Alas ! the resttrrectio7i of the Saviour is 7nade the time for 
si7ini7ig, the place in which to fall. Revellings and dt^mkenness 
return, chamberi7ig a7id wantonness arc sought after, as though it was 
for this that Christ rose, and 7wt for our Justification. This is not a 
passing over, but a going back. For this cause, as the Apostle says, 
i7ia7iy are weak and sickly and 7na7iy sleep. Therefo7'e is it that i/t 
differe/it places are there so nui7iy deaths, specially now." S. Anselm, 
on I Cor. xi. 30, makes the same observation, viz., that at Easter 
diseases walk abroad and many die, because of so many making an 
unworthy communion, and cither not making proper atonement for 
their sins, or else going back to them. 


Ver. 8. — Therefore let us keep the feast. The Latin has, "Let us 
banquet," because feasts were wont to be celebrated with solemn 
banquets in token of rejoicing. 

The feast here is either the feast of the Passover or of unleavened 
bread. And notice that, according to Exod. xii., the evening of the 
fourteenth day of the month, or of the Passover, was not, strictly 
speaking, the feast, but the following morning was, which was called 
the feast of the first day of unleavened bread, and lasted for seven 
days, during w-hich nothing but unleavened bread was allowed to be 
eaten ; and before those days, viz., on the fourteenth day of the first 
month Nisan, instead of the Paschal lamb that had been killed, they 
killed other Paschal victims, viz., burnt-offerings and peace-offerings. 
Cf. Num. xxviii. 19, The meaning, therefore, is this : Christ, having 
been sacrificed for us as our Passover, has redeemed us, and has 
begun for us the feast of unleavened bread. Therefore, after this 
Passover, after the death and redemption of Christ, let us keep this 
spiritual feast of unleavened bread, that we may be unleavened and 
pure, and may consequently feed on unleavened things, i.e., may 
enjoy purity of life for the seven days of our life. As all our time 
is measured by seven revolving days, seven is a symbol of complete- 
ness, and therefore the seven days mentioned here denote the whole 
of life here below. Through that life we are to keep up the memo- 
rial of Christ's redemption, of our Paschal Lamb, by purity of life that 
befits Christians, and by sacrifices and praises. 

But since the evening of the Passover could also be joined with 
the following morning, as the Jews reckoned their feasts from even- 
ing to evening, hence this evening may also be called a feast, or at 
all events a festive sacrifice and banquet of a lamb. Hence the 
Latin version is, "Let us banquet." Hence a second meaning can 
be gathered, which is this : " Let us keep a perennial Passover: let the 
Paschal feast be to us a continuous feast throughout the day of life, 
by our daily feeding on Christ, our Paschal Lamb, and His good 
gifts; and let us festively banquet on Him spiritually, by faith, hope, 
and charity, or even really in the Blessed Sacrament, and that with 
the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." Cf. Chrysostom and 


Anselm. For though the Paschal lamb, as it was slain, was a figure 
of Christ slain on the Cross, yet as far as it was eaten with un- 
leavened bread it was rather a figure of the Unbloody Sacrifice of 
the Eucharist. In the same way the Passover here is understood 
of Christ sacrificed and eaten in the Eucharist by S. Cyprian {Serm. 
de Ctxna Dotn.), by Nazianzen {Orat. de Fascha), by Chrysostom 
{Serm. de Prod. Juda), by Ambrose {In Luc. i.), by Jerome and 
Origen (in S. Matt. xxvi.). Hence S. Andrew the Apostle said to 
King ^geas : " I daily sacrifice an immaculate Lamb, which 
remains whole and living, even when all the people have eaten of 
It." Hence, too, it is that the Church reads this passage of the 
Apostle's for the Epistle at Easter, when she bids all to communi- 
cate and to feed on this Paschal Lamb, although in the . Primitive 
Church the faithful ate of it daily, as the Apostle here exhort?. 

Chrysostom gives us a moral meaning here when he says that we 
should banquet, not because it is Easter or Pentecost, but because 
all time is given to the Christian for so banqueting, because of the 
excellency of the gifts conferred. He says: "What good thing 
is there that the Son of God has not given you by being born and 
slain for you ? He has set you free and called you into His king- 
dom. Why then do you not banquet always?" Hence S. Sylvester 
said that all days were festal days, because the Christian ought to 
feast every day, and be at leisure for God, and keep the spiritual 
feast. So too S. Clement of Alexandria {Strom, lib. 7) says: "The 
whole life of the righteous is one solemn and holy feast day." 

Neither ivith the leaven of malice and wickedness. Vatablus trans- 
lates wickedness, croftifiess, and others render it depravity ; for he 
is wicked who does evil mediately, and with guile and fraud. The 
Latins of old by malice and wickedness signified all the vices and 
crimes of men. Hence the saying of Publius Africanus {apud 
Gell. lib. vii. c. 11) that all the evil and disgraceful and heinous 
things that men do are briefly comprehended in two words, malice 
and wickedness. 

But tvith the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. A Hebraism. 
Let us banquet, not on literal unleavened bread, but on spiritual, 


i.e., on sincerity (or purity) and trutli — not merely truth of the 
mind or of the mouth, but the truth of Hfe, the Christian righteous- 
ness ; in other words, any duty of virtue that Christians are bound 
to, especially simplicity, faithfulness, and truth. Sincerity is here 
opposed to malice, and truth to wickedness. 

Ver. 9. — I wrote unto you. In ver. 2 of this chapter. So Theo- 
doret and Chrysostom. But S. Thomas, Lyranus, Cajetan think that 
S. Paul wrote this in another former epistle which has perished. 

Avt to compaiiy with fornicators . . . for then 7nust ye needs go out 
of the world. When I bade you have no fellowship with fornicators 
I did not mean that you were to avoid fornicating pagans, for then 
you would have to go out of the world, for the whole world is full 
of pagans, who are either fornicators, or covetous, or idolaters ; but 
if any one who is a brother, says S. Ambrose, if any one who is 
a Christian, is publicly spoken ill of as a fornicator, then avoid him. 

Ver. 1 1. — If any man that is called a brother he a fornicator. This 
admits of being rendered, " If any man that is a brother be called 
a fornicator." H?nce S. Augustine {contra Parmen. lib. iii. c. 2) 
says : ^^ Is called',' i.e., is judged and declared guilty of fornication. 

Or covetous . . . or an extortioner. The first word here denotes 
one who stealthily seizes others' goods by fraud, the second one 
who seizes them by open violence. But the miser who clings to 
his money too tenaciously will not be excluded from heaven, unless 
he refuse to give alms to the poor in their great necessity : much 
less is he to be excluded from the society of the faithful. But the 
Apostle orders this in this verse. Therefore " covetous," as I said, 
must mean a thief or robber. Cf. 2 Cor. vii. 2 and xii. 18. 

Ver. 12. — For what have I to do to judge them that are without? 
To Judge is here and elsewhere the same as to condemn and punish 
fornicators, e.g., by excommunicating them, which is done in order 
to warn others who are pure and innocent not to mingle with them. 
When S. Paul says that they were not to mingle with fornicators, 
he at the same time judges indirectly the fornicators, by ordering 
them to be avoided and shunned as guilty and dangerous. He con- 
demns not those outside the Church, because as pagans they were 


beyond his jurisdiction, but only the faithful, who were subject to 
his pastoral care. 

It may be said that if we cannot judge them that are without, 
the Church cannot judge and punish heretics and schismatics, for 
they are without, i.e., outside the Church. I answer that they are 
without the Church in the sense of being deprived of all her benefits, 
but within so far as jurisdiction is concerned. The very fact that 
they still retain the character of baptism makes them subject and 
bound to the Church. Hence they are bound to observe the 
fasts and feasts and other laws of the Church ; and they are in the 
Church as slaves in a family, or as criminals imprisoned in a city. 


1 The Corinthians must not vex their brethren, in going to law with them: 
6 especially tinder infidels. 9 The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom 
of God. 15 Our bodies are the members of Christ, 19 and temples of the Holy 
Ghost. 16, 17 They must not therefore be defied. 

DARE any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the 
unjust, and not before the saints? 

2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall 
be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters ? 

3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that per- 
tain to this life ? 

4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge 
who are least esteemed in the church. 

5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you ? 
no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren ? 

6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. 

7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one 
with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather stiver 
yourselves to be defrauded ? 

8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that_j'^«r brethren. 

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? 
Be not deceived : neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, 
nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, 
shall inherit the kingdom of God. 

1 1 And such were some of you : but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but 
ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 

12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things 
are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 

13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both 
it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord ; and the 
Lord for the body. 

14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his 
own power. 

15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then 
take the members of Christ, and make thetn the members of an harlot ? God 

16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for 
two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 

17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 



18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body ; but he 
that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which 
is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 

20 For ye are bought with a price : therefore glorify God in your body, and 
in your spirit, which are God's. 


i. The Apostle passes on to the sul)ject of lawsuits and trials, and re- 
proves the Corinthians for instituting proceedings before heathen 
judges, and he declares those proceedings to be thereupon unjust 
and unfair. 

ii. Then (ver. 9) he declares that the unrighteous, of whom he names several 
kinds, shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 

iii. He passes on (ver. 13) to fornication, and condemns it on many grounds, 
which I will collect at the end of the chapter. 

Ver. I. — Dai-e any of you . ... go to law ? Literally, be judged, 
i.e., contend in judgment. Cf. i Sam. xii. 7 ; Ezek. xx. 35; and Jer. 
ii. 35. The Apostle is not censuring those who were dragged before 
the heathen tribunals, but those who dragged their brethren before 
them, or who appeared before them by the consent of both parties. 

Before the tinjiist. The saints here is a name for the faithful, and 
the unfust, therefore, are Gentile unbelievers. So Chrysostom, Theo- 
phylact, Anselm. The heathen are so called as lacking the faith 
by which the just man lives, and as being therefore unjust, and 
as often committing injustice strictly so called. In other words, 
since these unjust men are the judges, justice is not to be looked for 
from them. As they pervert the faith, so do they justice. 

Ver. 2. — If the world shall be judged by you, are ye u?iworthy to 
judge the sviallest matters 1 If the saints are to judge the whole 
world how much more ought they to be able to act as arbiters in 
composing their own small differences ? 

Ver. 3. — Knotv ye not that we shall judge angels? Some think 
that angels here means priests, and they refer to Malachi ii. 7, " For 
he is the angel cf the Lord of hosts," spoken of the priest. But 
this is foreign to the mind of S. Paul, and therefore the Fathers 
unanimously take it literally. 


Observe that, as Chrysostom, Theodoret, Ambrose, and Anselm 
say, it is the day of general judgment that is here spoken of. 

Hence it follows (i.) that at that day not only men but angels, 
both good and bad, are to be judged. Chrysostom, Theophylact, 
Theodoret, Anselm understand this passage to refer to evil angels ; 
for there is one Church of angels and men, and one Head and 
Judge, even Christ. Such a judgment tends to display publicly the 
Divine righteousness, and the honour due to the angels. 

It follows (2.) that this judgment is not such an one as is spoken 
of in S. Matt. xii. 41, where it is said that the Queen of the South 
and the Ninevites should rise up in the judgment and condemn 
that generation of Jews, but judgment in the proper sense of the 
word, inasmuch as it is set side by side with that by which the 
Corinthians judged their worldly matters. S. Paul says then that 
Christ and the Saints, by their power and authority, shall judge the 
angels as well as men : the good by a judgment of approbation, 
of praise and glory, and the evil by a judgment of condemnation 
and reprobation. They shall be judges because, when they were 
frail men in the body, they devoted themselves to the worship of 
God and perfect purity. The others shall be judged because they 
refused to do God's will, though they were incorporeal and pure 
spirits. So Theophylact and Theodoret. Again, because the Saints 
were victorious over the devil in this life, they for their reward shall, 
before the whole world, pass judgment on his malice, pride, and 
foolishness, and shall exult over him as conquered, mean, and con- 
temptible, cast away by God, and condemned to everlasting punish- 
ment. So Christ is said to do in Col. ii. 15. And this will be to 
the exquisite pride of the devils a most bitter punishment, as Francis 
Suarez says beautifully (pt. iii. qu. 69, disp. 57, sect. 8). Add to 
this that the Apostles and Apostolic men, who left all and followed 
Christ most closely, will be nearest to the Judge, as the leaders of 
His kingdom and assessors of their King. And so their sentence 
will be Christ's ; and as Cardinals are associated with the Pope, so 
they with Christ shall judge all others. 

How viuch 7nore things that pertain to this life ? We are com- 


petent and worthy to judge things that belong to man's ordinary 
life, if only the office of judging is intrusted to us by the litigating 
parties, or if we are appointed to it by the Church or by the State. 
For if we are able to judge angels, why not matters of this world? 
For angels as far surpass worldly things as heaven is higher than 

Ver. 4. — Set theui to judge who are least esteemed, rather than the 

Ver. 5. — Is it so that there is not a zuise man among you ? no, not 
one that shall be able to judge befiveefi his brethren ? This is severe 
irony, and a tacit reproof and condemnation. Sedulius and Gregory 
{Mor. lib. xix. c. 21) take it a little differently, as if said seriously, 
as though he meant : Let those who are of lesser merit in the 
Church, and who have no great gifts of power, judge in matters of 
worldly business, that so those who cannot do great things may be 
the means of supplying lesser benefits. 

This judging of secular causes was afterwards intrusted amongst 
Christians to the presbyters and Bishops, as appears from Clement 
[Constit. lib. i. c. 49-51, and Ep. i. to James the Lord's brother). 
He says: "If brethren have any dispute let them not take it for 
decision before secular magistrates, but, whatever it is, let it be 
ended by the presbyters of the Church, and let their decision be 
implicitly obeyed." "This too was afterwards decreed in the civil 
law by the Emperor Theodosius, and confirmed by Charlemagne 
(xi. qu. I, Can. Quicunque and Can. Volumus), who gave per- 
mission to any one, whether plaintiff or defendant, to appeal from 
the secular tribunal to the Ecclesiastical court. Hence it was 
that Gregory Thaumaturgus, Bishop of Neo-Cassarea, discharged 
among his faithful the office of judge, as is testified by Gregory 
of Nyssa in the life that he wrote of him; so did S. Ambrose, as 
appears from Ojjlc. lib. ii. c. 29, where he says that he had brought 
to nought the unjust judgments of the Emperors ; so did S. Augus- 
tine {de Opere Monach. c. 26); Synesius (Epp. 57 and 58). But 
as the number of Christians and lawsuits increased, the Bishops 
transferred this duty to secular judges, who were, however, Christians 


This they did, following the teaching and appointment of S. Peter, 
who thus writes to Clement, and in him to all Bishops, in the 
letter just cited : " Christ does not wish you to be a judge or 
decider of worldly affairs, lest being engrossed with the things that 
are seen you have no leisure for the word of God, or for severing 
the good from the bad according to the rule of truth." 

It may be asked. Why then does not S. Paul intrust this office 
of judge to the Bishop ? Ambrose replies. Because there was no 
such officer at Corinth as yet : " He had not yet been appointed 
to rule their Church." The Corinthians had but recently been 
converted by S. Paul, and were yet but few in number. 

Ver. 7. — Noiv, therefore^ there is utterly a fault amo7ig you. Fault 
Theophylact renders condemnation and shame. It is simpler to take 
it as a defect or shortcoming, as when a man is overcome by 
another his strength and courage are thereby diminished. Imperfec- 
tion, meanness, and feebleness of mind are among you, because you 
are overcome by anger, avarice, and strife, and can bear nothing. It 
is the mark of a great mind to be raised high above all these things, 
to look down upon them as beneath its notice, and to care nothing 
for injuries. It is littleness of mind and love of gain which make 
you go to law before heathen tribunals, to the scandal of believers 
and unbelievers, who are thus led to blaspheme the faith of Christ. 

Why do ye not rather take wrong"} Or suffer loss, as beseems 
those that are but newly Christians, who are few in number, and in 
the first fervour of their profession of peace and perfection. 

This passage, however, does not favour the Anabaptists, who hold 
that it means that all judicial power should be taken from the 
magistrates. For (i.) as Chrysostom says, the Apostle is not con- 
demning the existence of law-courts, but the impatience of the 
litigants. (2.) He censures them for inflicting injury on their fellow- 
Christians (ver. 8); (3.) for going for judgment on these matters 
before the unbelievers and the unjust; (4.) for oppressing the 
poor among them wrongfully; (5.) for so scandalously disturbing 
brotherly peace, which is the bond of charity, and thus injuring the 
faith itself Cajetan adds that one or other of the parties must 


always be in the wrong, because one or other favours au unjust 
cause, unless he can be excused through ignorance. Wherefore S. 
Augustine {Enchirid. c. 78) says that even lawsuits that are just 
can hardly be entered into without sin, at all events venial sin, 
because they generally proceed from a too great love of worldly 
things, and can scarcely be free from the danger of hatred, ill-will, 
and injurious dealing. There is added to this loss of time, of peace, 
and internal tranquillity, which cannot be compensated for except by 
a still greater good, and therefore even suits that have justice on 
their side are not undertaken without sin. Hence Christ, in vS. 
Matt. v. 40, enjoins: "If any man will sue thee at the law, and 
take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also." A greater good 
is the necessity of one's self, of the public, of one's family, godliness, 
or the obligations of justice, as when you determine to protect or 
recover the goods of a monastery, or of the poor, by the public law- 
courts. So Paul appealed to Caesar's judgment-seat (Acts xxv. 11). 
In fine, the Apostle is not here blaming judging on the part of the 
judge, but only on the part of the suitors. And so, even if it were 
sin to go to law, it would not be sin to pass judgment ; for judg- 
ments put an end to suits, which is altogether a good thing. S. 
Clement of Rome supports in this S. Paul, his master and contem- 
porary {Cons/it Apost. lib. ii. c. 45), in the words : // is the 
beautiful boast of a Christian that he goes to laiv ivith no one. But 
if by the doing of others, or by any temptatiofi, it come to pass that he 
is entangled in a laivsuit, he docs all he caii to put an end to it, 
although he have thereby to suffer loss, and to prevent himself from 
havi?ig to appear before the heatheiis Judgtuent-seat. JVay, do not 
suffer secular magistrates to decide in your causes, for by them the 
devil endeavours to bring the servants of God into reproach, by 
makifig it appear that you have no wise man to do justice between 
you, or to put an end to cotitroversy." 

Vers. 9, 10. — Neither fornicators nor adulterers, &:c. . . . shall in- 
herit the kingdom of God. Hence it appears that not only adultery 
but also fornication, by which an unmarried man sins with an un- 
married woman, is against the law of Christ and of nature. Rabbi 


Moses .-Egypt, erred shamefully in this respect {More, lib. iii. c. 
50) when he excused the intercourse of Judah with Tamar, related in 
Gen. .xxxviii., on the ground that before the law of jNIoses whoredom 
was allowable. Our politicians err still more shamefully who, while 
allowing that fornication is forbidden by the law of Christ, yet 
deny that it was forbidden by the law of Moses. For Moses includes 
it, as do the Rabbins always, in Exod. xx., under the sixth com- 
mandment, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," under which not 
only adultery, but also incest, sodomy, fornication, and all kinds 
of sexual intercourse and lust outside the limits of matrimony are 
forbidden. So Tobias (iv. 13) says: "Keep thyself, my son, from 
all fornication." 

So the Apostle here reckons fornication with adultery, idolatry, 
and other sins which are against the law of nature and of the Deca- 
logue, and naturally shut out men from the kingdom of heaven. 
For fornication is at variance with the first creation of man, and 
with the institution of matrimony, by which the God of nature and 
the Lord of all things has tied the use of those members which 
serve for generation to matrimony ; and outside that He has taken 
away all permisson to use them. It is opposed also to conjugal 
fidelity, and to the good of the offspring, who cannot be properly 
brought up in fornication, but only in matrimony. Hence Deut. 
xxii. 21 orders a maiden to be stoned who before marriage has com- 
mitted fornication in her father's house. And the Wise Man says 
(Ecclus. xix. 3): " He who joins himself to fornication shall be vile." 

Lastly, to pass over other instances, 24,000 of the Israelites were 
killed for committing fornication with the daughters of Moab. 

Effeminate. Those guilty of self-pollution. 

Covetous. Those who by fraud, unfair contracts, and legal 
quibbles get possession of the goods of others. They are distinct 
from thieves and robbers. Cf. note to ver. 10. 

Drunkards. Tiie Greek word here stands both for one that is 
drunk and one that is given to drink. Here it denotes rather the 
act than the habit, as the other words, thieves, revilers, adulterers, 
do; for one of such acts excludes from the kingdom of heaven. 


Cf. Gal. V. 2 1. A single act of drunkenness, if it is perfected, is 
deadly sin, because it deprives a man of the use of his reason, and 
makes him like a beast, and exposes him to danger of broils, lust, 
and many other sins. S. Thomas says, however : " Drunkenness is 
not a mortal sin if a man is ignorant of the strength of the wine 
or the weakness of his head." This excuse, however, is rendered 
invalid by frequent experience ; therefore the Apostle says signi- 
ficantly, "habitual drunkard," not merely "drunkard." But the 
former explanation is the sounder. 

Ver. II. — But ye are ivashed . . . by the Spirit of our God. Ye 
were justified in baptism by the Holy Spirit. So Chrysostom, 
Theophylact, CEcumenius. S. Cyprian gives a beautiful example 
of this washing and change of character, produced in his own case 
by being baptized into Christianity, in Ep. 2, to Donatus, in which 
he candidly confesses what sort of man he was before his baptism, 
what a sudden change passed over him through the grace of 
baptism, and what benefits Christianity conferred upon him, which, 
as he says, " is the death of vices, the life of virtues." Nazianzen 
{Orat. Fiinehr. in Laiidem S. Cypr.) says the same, and relates his 
wonderful conversion, and the change of heart and life which 
baptism wrought in him. 

Ver. 12. — Ail things are lawful unto me, Imt all things are not 
expedient All things, say Theodoret and CEcumenius, are through 
tree-will lawful unto me, are in my power, e.g., to commit fornica- 
tion, to rob, to be drunken, and all the other sins mentioned above. 
But they are not expedient for the salvation of my soul, inasmuch 
as they are sins. 

But this rendering is rightly condemned by Ambrose, who says : 
" How can that be lawful which is forbidden ? for surely if all things 
are lawful there can be nothing unlawful." In other words he says 
that that is said to be lawful which no law forbids. The word lawful 
does not apply to that which it is in the power of the will to do or 
leave undone. The meaning, therefore, of this passage is, all indif- 
ferent things, all not forbidden by any law, are lawful to me. So 
Chrysostom, who with Theophylact refers these words to the next verse. 


Ver. 13. — Meats for the belly and the belly for meats, i. Al- 
though it is lawful for me to eat of every kind of food, yet I will 
not allow desire for any food to get the mastery over me, and make 
me a slave to my belly. 

2. Ambrose and S. Thomas understand these words to refer to 
his personal expenses, and to mean — Though it is lawful for me as 
a preacher of the Gospel to receive from you means of support, yet 
I will not receive it, lest I become chargeable to any one and lose 
my liberty. The Apostle after his manner joins together various dis- 
connected matters, which he knew would be intelligible in other 
ways to those to whom he was writing. 

3. The best rendering is to refer these words, with Anselm and 
S. Thomas, to what had been said above about judgments : I have 
said these things against going to law, not because it is unlawful in 
itself for a man to seek to regain his own at law, but because I am 
unwilling for you to be brought under the power of any one, whether 
he be judge, advocate, or procurator, especially when they are of 
the unbelievers. 

S. Bernard {de Consid. lib. iii.) says, moralising: '■'■The spiritual 
man will, before undertaking any work, ask himself three questio?is, Is 
it lazvful? Is it becoming 1 Is it expedient? For although, as is well 
known in the Christiaii philosophy, nothing is becoming save zvhat is 
lawful, and nothing is expedient save what is both lawful and 
becoming, jievertheless it does not follow that all that is lazvful is 
necessarily also beconiing or expedient.^'' 

Why, says S. Paul, do you enter on lawsuits for the sake of 
worldly good, which for the most part serves only for the belly and 
its meats ? For food is but a perishing and mean thing, made but 
to be cast into the belly. The belly too is the lowest part of man, 
made only to cook, digest, cast forth, and corrupt the food, and is a 
vessel containing all that is disgusting. Both food and belly shall 
be destroyed, for both shall be food for worms; and though the 
belly shall rise again, yet it will no longer take in food. Secondly, 
it should be observed that the Apostle here purposely introduces 
gluttony, because it is the mother of lust, which he then proceeds 


to condemn. So Theophylact. Hence in the passage bearing the 
name of S. Athanasius (qu. 133 ad Antioch.), the belly here is 
understood to mean gluttony and drunkenness. The belly has its 
desire to drunkenness, and drunkenness to it ; but he who is thus 
given up to serve his belly cannot serve God, but is the slave of 
his belly, and therefore shall be destroyed of God. This passage 
is plainly not the writing of S. Athanasius, for earlier (qu. 23) 
Athanasius himself is quoted, and differed from ; moreover, Epipha- 
nius and Gregory of Nyssa are quoted, who lived after Athanasius. 

But God shall destroy both it and tJiem. In death and the re- 
surrection, in such a way that the belly will no longer be for meats, 
nor will there be meats to fill the belly. 

Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, a?td the Lord 
for the body. It was not meant, or given us, for such an end, but 
that with chaste body we should serve the Lord, and follow Him, 
our Head, with pure and holy lives. So Anselm. So also is Christ 
given to our body to be its head and crown. Or the Lord is for 
the body in another sense, according to Ambrose and Anselm, viz., 
that He is the reward for the body that is chaste and pure, and He 
will give it incorruption and immortality. The first meaning is the 
simpler, for S. Paul proceeds to speak of the resurrection. 

Ver. 14. — And God . . . will also raise up us by LLis own pozver. 
As He raised up Christ when crucified and dead, so too if with 
Christ we die to lust and gluttony, and crucify them, will He raise 
up us. 

Ver. 15 — Knotv ye not that your bodies are the me?nbers of Christ 1 
For ye yourselves, and consequently your body and soul, are mem- 
bers of the Church of Christ. S. Augustine {Serm. 18. in hcec Verb.) 
says beautifully : " The life of the body is the soul, the life of the soul is 
God. The Spirit of God dwells in the soul, a?id through the soul in 
the body, so that our bodies also are a temple of the LLoly Spirit, whom 
we have from God." 

Shall L then . . . make them the members of an harlot 1 God 

forbid. Take here is not to pluck off and separate from Christ, for 

a fornicator remains a member of Christ and His Church so long 


as he retains the true faith. But it means, as S. Thomas says, un- 
justly to withdraw these members, that were given for generation, 
from the obedient service of Christ, whose they are. For whoever 
of the fait'nful commits fornication filches as it were his body and 
his organs of generation, which body is a member of Christ, from 
their lawful owner, and gives them to a harlot. He takes, therefore 
from Christ, not jurisdiction over his body, but the use of it. 

Ver. 1 6. — Know ye not that he zvhich is joijied to ati harlot is one 
body 7 One body by a union and blending of the two bodies. 
Just as merchants in partnership have but one capital, because it 
is common to both, so those who join in committing fornication 
have one body, because their bodies are common to both, as 
Cajetan says. So two are one flesh : that is, out of two there is 
made but one human being, and that not spiritual, but carnal — 
wholly fleshly. 

For two, saith He, shall be 07ie fiesh. S. Paul is here quoting 
from Gen. ii. 24, where the words are applied to those married. 
But he refers them truly enough to fornicators, because the external 
acts, whether of them or of those married, do not differ in kind, 
though they differ morally by the whole sky, for the acts of the 
former are lustful and vicious, but those of the latter are acts of 
temperance, righteousness, and virtue, as S. Thomas says. 

1. Observe that it is said of the married that they too shall be 
one flesh (i.) by carnal copulation, as the Apostle here takes it; (2.) 
by synecdoche, they shall be one individual, one person : for the 
man and the woman civilly are, and are reckoned as one ; (3.) be- 
cause in wedlock each is the master of the other's body, and so the 
flesh of one is the flesh of the other (cf. i Cor. vii. 3) ; (4.) in the 
effect produced, for they produce one flesh, that is one offspring. 

2. Observe again that Scripture employs this phrase in order to 
show that of all human relationships the bond of matrimony is the 
closest and the most inviolable. Hence it was that God made Eve 
out of the rib of Adam, to show that the man and the woman are 
not so much two as one, and ought to be one in heart and will, 
and therefore, if need be, each for the sake of the other ought to 


leave father and mother, as is said in Gen. ii. 24. The Apostle 
quotes this passage to show the fornicator how grievously he lowers 
and disgraces himself, inasmuch as he so closely joins himself to 
some abandoned harlot as to become one with her, and as it were 
he transforms himself into her and himself becomes a harlot. 

Ver. 17. — But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Not 
one essentially, as Ruisbrochius {de Alta Contempt^ says that 
Almaric and certain fanatic "illuminati" thought, but one in the 
way of accidents : one in charity, in the consent of the will, in grace 
and glory, all which make man like God, so that he is as it were 
one and the same spirit with God. So Ambrose, Anselm, Qicumenius. 
From this passage S. Basil {dc Vera Virgin.") shows that the chaste 
and holy soul is the spouse of God, and is changed into the ex- 
cellence of the Divine image, so as to become one spirit with God, 
and from this union with God drinks in all possible purity, virtue, 
incorruption, peace, and inward calm. " Wherefore .^^ he says, '■'■the 
sold zvliieh is joined to Christ is, as it were, the bride of the Wisdom or 
the Word of God ; is necessarily zvise and prudent, so that every mark 
of the yoke of brutish folly having been removed by meditation on Divine 
things, she zvears the beauteous or?ia?nent of the JVisdom to which 
she has been joined, until she so thoroughly joins to herself the Eternal 
Wisdom, so becomes one ivith It, that of corruptible she is made in- 
corruptible, of ignorant most prudent and wise, like the Word, to ivhosc 
side she has closely kept, and in short, of mortal man is made immortal 
God ; and so He to lahom she has bee7i united is made manifest to all." 

S. Bernard {Scrm 7 in Cantic) beautifully describes this betrothal 
of God with the soul that clings to Him with pure and holy love, 
and the communication of all good things that flows from it. He 
says: ^' The soul ivhich loves God is called His bride ; for the t-wo 
names, bride and bridegroom, denote the closest ajfections of the heart ; 
for to them all things are in common : they have one purse, one home, 
one table, one bed, 07ie flesh. Therefore shall a man leave father and 
mother, g^c, and they tzvaiti shall be one flesh. . . . She that loves is 
called a bride ; but one that loves seeks for kisses — not for liberty, or 
wages, or a settlement of money, but for kisses after the manner of a 


most chaste bride, tvhose every breath whispers of her love in all its 
puriiy, atid who is 7vholly triable to conceal the fire that is burning 
her. ^ Let him kiss me zvith the kisses of his mouthj' she says. It is 
as though she were to say, ' JVhat have I in Jieaven, a?id what do I 
wish for 071 earth apart from you ? ' Surely this, her love, is chaste, 
since she seeks to have Him that she loves, and nothing else besides Him. 
Jt is a holy love, because it is 7iot in the lust of the flesh, but in the 
purity of the spirit. It is a burning love, because she is so drunken 
with her own love that she thinks not of His majesty. Yet He is 
One that looks at the earth and it trejnbles. He toucheth the mountains 
and they smoke, and she seeks to be kissed by Him. Is she driuik ? 
Surely so, because she had perchatice come forth frojn the ^vine-cellar. 
How great is love's power! how great is the confidejice of the spirit 
of liberty I Perfect love casteth out fear. She does not say, ' Let 
this or that bridegroom, or friend, or king, kiss me,' but definitely, 
' Let Him kiss me.^ Just so Alary Magdaletie, when she found not her 
Lord ifi the tomb, and believed Him to have been taken away, said of 
Him, ' If thou have borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid 
Him, and I ivill take Him away.' Who is the ' Him ' ? She does 
not reveal it, because she supposes that what is never for a mojnent 
absent frotn her heart must be obviotts to all. So too the bride says, 
^ Let him kiss fue,' i.e., him who is 7iever abseyit fro7n 77iy heart ; for 
being 07i fire ivith love she thinks that the na77ie of hi/n she loves 
is well k7iow7i to all." More on this betrothal and union to God 
of the soul that clings to Him will be found in the notes to 
2 Cor. xi. 2. 

Again we find S. Bernard, or tne author of tlie treatise, "On 
the Solitary I.ife," saying towards the end : " The perfection of the 
will that is i7ioving toivards God is to be fou7id in the unity with God 
of the spirit of the 7na7i whose affections are set on thi/igs above. 
When he now no longer merely wills what God wills, but has so far 
advanced in love that he can7iot will save what God ivills, the ti7iion 
is C077iplete. For to will what God wills is to be like God : not to be 
able to will save what God ivills is to be 7vhat God is, with who7n 
Will and Being are the same. Hence it is well said that the7i ive 


shall see Him as He is, when we shall be so like Hij/i that ive shall 
be what He is. For to those to whom has been given the poiver 
of bccotning the sons of God, there has been also given the poiver of 
becoming, not indeed God, but ivhat God is. 

S. Bernard goes on to point out a triple similitude that men have 
to God, and then he adds : " Tliis likeness of man to God is called 
a unity of spirit, not merely because it is the Holy Spirit that effects 
it, or because He affects man's spirit towards it, but because it is itself 
the Holy Spij-it — God ivho is love. Since He is the bond of love 
between the Father and the Son, He is unity, and sweetness, and good, 
and kisses, and embraces, and -whatever can be common to Both in that 
supreme unity of Truth and truth of Unity : and similarly He makes 
man to become to God after man's capacity all that by substantial 
u?iity the Father is through Him to the Son and the Son to the 
Father. The blessed consciozisness of man has found in some wav a 
means by which it embraces the Father and the Son : in. an ineffable 
and inconceivable mamier man merits to become of God, though not 
God. God, however, is what He is by His own Nature; nuin becomes 
what he does by grace.'''' 

Ver. 1 8. — Flee fornication. Because, as Anselm, Cassian, and 
the Fathers generally teach, other vices are conquered by re- 
sistance, lust alone by flight, viz., by fleeing from women, from the 
objects and occasions of lust, by turning aside the eyes and the 
mind to see and think of other things. For if you oppose a temp- 
tation to some lewdness, or fight against some impure thought, 
you only excite the imagination by thinking of such things, and 
then inflame still more the innate lust of the flesh, that is naturally 
disposed to such acts as fornication. 

Every sin that a nmn doeth is without the body. Does not stain 
or pollute the body. 

It may be said that if a man kills or mutilates or castrates him- 
self he sins against his body, and therefore it is not a fact that every 
sin distinct from fornication is without the body. 

I reply that every sin, i.e., every kind of sins which men commonly 
and ordinarily commit is without the body. For there are seven 


capital sins, which theologians, following S. Paul, divide into spiritual 
and bodily or carnal. Those that are carnal are two — gluttony and 
lust ; the spiritual are five — pride, covetousness, anger, envy, sloth. 
Of these anger and envy tend directly of themselves towards murder 
of one's neighbour, but not except by accident towards murder of 
one's self, and that in few and extraordinary cases. The angry man, 
therefore, does not ordinarily and necessarily sin against his body, 
but against that of another, by assaulting him or killing him. The 
Apostle's meaning then is, that all the sins in general which men 
ordinarily and commonly commit are without the body. '■'■Every 
sin " therefore does not include mutilation or suicide, which happen 
rarely, and as it were accidentally; nor does it include gluttony 
as I will show directly. 

^/// /le that committeth for}iication sitineth against his own body. 
S. Jerome i^Ep. ad Amand. tom. iii.) gives two explanations of this 
passage, of which the first is — the fornicator sins against his wife, 
who is his own body ; the second is — he plants in his body the seeds 
of sexual passion, which, even after his sin, remain, when he wishes 
to repent, to spring up into active life. S. Jerome says that " other 
sins are without, and after being committed are repented of and 
though profit urge to them yet conscience rebukes. Lust alone, evcfi in 
the hour of repetitance, suffers tinder the whips and stings of the past, 
and under organic irritation, afid under incentives to sin, so that 
material for sin is supplied again by thoughts of the very things which 
we long to see corrected." S. Jerome confesses {Ep. 22 ad Etistoch.) 
that he knew this from his own experience. S. Mary of Egypt 
found the same true in her own case, who endured under penance 
these whips and stings for as many years as she had formerly given 
to sexual passion, viz., seventeen, as Sophronius, Patriarch of Jeru- 
salem, relates in her life. 

(Ecumenius has ten other explanations of this passage, as has 
also Isidorus Pelusiota {lib. iv. Ep. 129). But the true and genuine 
sense is : Whoever commits fornication does injury to his own body, 
I. because he pollutes and disgraces his body, as Gregory of Nyssa 
says in his oration on these words. 


2. Because by fornication iie weakens and exliausts his body, 
and often destroys it, by contracting venereal disease. So S. 
Athanasius, quoted by Qilcumenius. In botli these ways the glutton 
and drunkard sin against their body, because the first disgraces it 
by subjecting it to unhealthy humours, to vomiting, and other dis- 
gusting things, while the latter weakens, injures, and finally ruins 
its natural heat and strength. Hence under the name of fornication, 
here gluttony and drunkenness, as being akin to it, or rather its 
mother, may be understood. It was for this reason that the Apostle, 
in ver. 13, spoke of gluttony. For these two sins, gluttony and lust, 
are vices peculiar to the body, and are thence called sins of the 
flesh : other sins belong to the spirit alone, as I have just said. 

3. The fornicator does injury to his own body, inasmuch as he 
alone brings his body, wiiich was created free, pure, and noble, 
under the jurisdiction, service, and power of the most degraded 
harlot, so that he becomes as one thing with her. In the same way 
that, if any one were to bind his own body, that was noble, healthy, 
and beautiful, to the body of some loathsome leper, he would be said 
to do his body a great wrong, so does he who unites to a common, 
base, and infamous harlot his body, that was created by God pure, 
noble, and free, and redeemed and washed by the blood of Christ, 
do to it grievous injury. In all these verses the Apostle lays stress 
upon this wrong. 

4. The fornicator does injury to his body, because he excites 
in it a foul and shameful lust, which so absorbs the mind that in 
carrying it out into action the man can think of nothing else. He 
makes his body, therefore, the slave of his lust, in such a way that 
he is wholly ruled by it. Neither gluttony nor any other sin in the 
body excites such shameful and vehement lust as this is. Impurity 
alone then holds sway over the body, and by its lust and outward 
action stains, subjugates, and destroys it. 

Ver. 19. — Knozv ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy 
Ghost 1 They, therefore, who pollute their bodies by impurity are 
guilty of sacrilege, for they sin against the Holy Ghost. Tiiey do 
Him wrong by robbing Him of the body dedicated to Him, and 


transferring it to the demon of lust. Further, the bodies of the 
faithful are the temple of the Spirit of Christ, because they themselves 
are members of Christ, and because the faithful are one spirit with 
God. (See notes to vers. i6, 17, and 2 Cor. vi. 16.) TertuUian 
cleverly and beautifully says {de Cultu Femin. c. i.) that the guardian 
and high-priestess of this temple is chastity. He says : " Since 7ve 
are all the temple of God, because endowed and consecrated with the 
Holy Spirit, the guardian and high-priestess of His temple is chastity, 
who suffers nothing unclean, 7iothing u7iholy to be carried in, lest God, 
who inhabits it, be offended, and leave His polluted shrine.^'' The faith- 
ful and just is therefore a temple in which by grace dwells and is 
worshipped the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given us, to work in 
us all holy thoughts, affections, words, and works. Wherefore it is 
altogether unseemly that His soul and body should by fornication 
become the temple of Venus and Priapus : this is a grievous wrong 
done to God and the Holy Spirit. Hence it was that S. Seraphia, 
virgin and martyr, when asked by the judge, "Where is the temple 
of the Christ whom j'ou adore, where you sacrifice?" replied, "I, 
by cultivating chastity, am the temple of Christ, and to Him I offer 
myself a sacrifice." The judge retorted, " If your chastity, then, 
were taken from you, you would, I suppose, cease to be a temple of 
Christ?" The virgin rejoined: "If any man defile the temple of 
God, him shall God destroy." The judge then sent two young men 
to violate her, but at her prayer an earthquake took place, and the 
young men fell down dead : they were, however, at her prayers re- 
stored to life. This is to be found in her life by Surius, under the 
3rd of September. 

Ver. 20 — For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in 
your body. Value highly your bodies, though the devil bids for 
them with a shameful and brief bodily delight. Do not despise your 
bodies, do not sell them for nothing — rather think them of the highest 
possible worth ; for it is to the glory of God if these bodies, which 
God bought at a great price, even with His own blood, become of 
great importance in our eyes. Hence the well-known proud name 
of a Christian is, " Bought and Redeemed," viz., from sin and 


heathenism, by the precious blood of Christ. So in olden times the 
children of Christians were bought by the Turks, and became, instead 
of Christians, Mahometans, and were called Mamelukes, or "the 
bought;" for when the Tartars had subdued Armenia they sold 
the children of the Christians. Melech-Sala, Sultan of Egypt, bought 
them in great numbers, and had them trained as soldiers, and 
called Mamelukes. After the death of Melech-Sala the Mamelukes 
began to appoint a king for themselves, a.d. 1252, out of their own 
society of apostate Christians. As they took their rise under the 
Emperor Frederick II., so under Solyman, who filled the Egyptian 
throne, they were exterminated, a.d. 15 16. Then their reign and 
existence ceased together. Glorify God i?i your body, by keeping 
it pure in obedience to the Spirit and to God. 

The Latin has, " Glorify a?id carry God," but the ca?-ry is not in 
the Greek. "As a horse," says S. Thomas, "carries its lord and 
rider, and moves as he wills, so does the body serve the will of God." 
The Greek also adds, mid in your spirit, which are God's.^^ 

Observe that the Corinthians were greatly given to impurity, and 
consequently to gluttony. This is evident from Suidas, who, under 
the word " Cothys," says : " Cothys is a devil worshipped by the 
Corinthians as the ruler of effeminate and unclean persons." 
Herodotus says the same thing (Clio), and Strabo {HI}, viii.). The 
latter says: "The temple of Venus at Corinth was so wealthy that 
it had more than a thousand harlots as priestesses, whom men and 
women dedicated to the goddess." Thus KoptvOid^nv became a 
common word for lasciviousness, self-indulgence, and impurity 
generally. Hence it is that the Apostle takes such pains to warn 
the Corinthians against their common sin of fornication ; and he 
does this by various reasons drawn from different sources : (i.) from 
creation, (2.) from the resurrection of the body, (3.) from the shame- 
fulness of impurity, and the injury it does to the body, (4.) from the 
dignity of the body. 

From these we may collect six arguments by which he seeks to 
save them from fornication : (i.) Because our body is not our own 
but the Lord's (ver. 13); (2.) Because, if it is pure, it shall rise again 


with glory (ver. 14); (3.) Because our body is a member of Christ, 
(ver. 15); (4.) Because the body is a pure temple of the Holy Spirit, 
in order that by clinging to God in chastity it may become one 
spirit with Him (ver. 1 7) ; (5.) Because impurity disgraces and defiles 
the body (ver. iS); (6.) Because our body has been bought with 
the blood of Christ, and therefore it is an unworthy thing, and an 
injury to God, to Christ, and the Holy Spirit, to give it to a harlot 
(ver. 20). See Chrysostom {in Morali.). 

S. Bernard {Serin. 7 oti Ps. xci.) moralises thus : " Glorify, dearly 
beloved, and bear meanwhile Christ in your body , as a delightful burden, 
a pleasant weight, a wholesome load, even though He seem someti/nes 
to weigh heavily, even though sometimes He use the spur afid whip on 
the laggard, even though sometimes He hold in the jaws with bit and 
bridle, afidcurb us wholly for our good. Be as a beast of burden in the 
patience with which you bear the load, and yet not as a beast, heedless 
of the honour that its rider gives. Think wisely and sweetly both of 
the nature of the load you bear, as well as of your own future benefit." 
So S. Ignatius, the martyr, was called '• God-bearer" and "Christ- 
bearer," and he salutes the Blessed Virgin by the same name, " Christ- 
bearer," in his letters to her, as S. Bernard says. 


2 He ircaleih of i/iarriagc, 4 showing it to be a 7-emedy against fornication : 
I o anii that the bond thereof ought not lightly to he dissolved, i S, 20 Every 
7)tan must be content with his vocation. 25 Virginity zvherefore to be einbractd- 
35 And for what respects we may either marry, or abstain from mar7ying. 

XT OW concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me : It is good for a man 
not to touch a woman. 

2 Nevertheless, to avoid {o\-!\\c?X\ovi, let every man have his own wife, and let 
every woman have her own husband. 

3 Let the husband ren<ler uoto the wife due benevolence : and likewise also 
the wife unto the husband. 

4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband : and likewise 
also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 

5 Defraud ye not one the other, except // be with consent for a time, that ye 
may give yourselves to fasting and prayer ; and come together again, that Satan 
tempt you not for your incontinency. 

6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. 

7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his 
proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 

S I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they 
abide even as I. 

9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry : for it is better to marry than 
to bum. 

10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the 
wife depart from her husband : 

1 1 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her 
husband : and let not the husband put away his wife. 

12 Bat to the rest speak I, not the Lord : If any brother hath a wife that 
believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 

13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be 
pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving 
wife is sanctified by the husband : else were your children unclean ; but now 
are they holy. 

15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not 
under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. 

16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save /^^ husband ? or 
how knowest thou, O man, whctlicr thou shalt save tJty wife ? 

17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every 
one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. 



iS Is any man called Vieing circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. 
Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. 

19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of 
the commandments of God. 

20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 

21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be 
made free, use it rather. 

22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is tlie Lord's freeman, 
likewise also he that is called, hcing free, is Christ's servant. 

23 Ye are bought with a price ; be not ye the servants of men. 

24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God. 

25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord : yet I give 
my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. 

26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is 
good for a man so to be. 

27 Art thou bound unto a wife ? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from 
a wife ? seek not a wife. 

28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned ; and if a virgin marry, she hath 
not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh : but I spare you. 

29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short : it remaineth, that both they 
that have wives be as though they had none ; 

30 And they that weep, as though they wept not ; and they that rejoice, as 
though they rejoiced not ; and they that buy, as though they possessed not ; 

31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it, for the fashion of this 
world passeth away. 

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth 
for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord : 

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he 
may please his wife. 

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried 
woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and 
in spirit : but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may 
please her husband. 

35 And this I speak for your own profit ; not that I may cast a snare upon 
you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without 

36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, 
if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, 
he sinneth not : let them marry. 

37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, 
but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will 
keep his virgin, doeth well. 

38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well ; but he that givelh her 
not in marriage doeth better. 

39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth ; but if her husband 
be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will ; only in the Lord. 

40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment : and I think also 
that I have the Spirit of God. 



In this chapter he answers five questions of the Corinthians about the laws of 
matrimony, and about the counsel of virginity and celibacy — 

i. The first question is whether matrimony and its use are lawful for a 
Christian, as being born again and sanctified. The answer is that 
they are lawful, and that, moreover, when either party demands his 
due, it ought to be given, and that therefore it is better to many 
than to burn. 
ii. The second is (ver. 10) concerning divorce, whether it is lawful, and 

S. Paul answers that it is not. 
iii. The third is (ver. 12), If a believer have an unbelieving partner, can 
they continue to live together ? He answers that they both can and 
ought, if the unbeliever consents to live in peace with the believer. 
iv. The fourth is (ver. 17) whether a man's state is to be changed be- 
cause of his faith ; whether, c.^., a married person who was a slave 
when a heathen becomes free when a Christian, whether a Gentile 
becomes a Jew. He answers in the negative, and says that each 
should remain in his station. 
V. The fifth is (ver. 25) whether at all events those who are converted to 
Christ as virgins ought to remain so. lie replies that virginity is 
not enjoined on any as a precept, but that it is on all as a counsel, 
as being better than matrimony for six reasons : — 

[a) Because of the present necessity, inasmuch as only a short time 
is given us for obtaining, not temporal but eternal gain: she 
that is a virgin is wholly intent on these things (ver. 26). 
(3) Because he that is married is, as it were, bound to his wife 
with the wedding-bond, but the unmarried is free and un- 
constrained (ver. 27). 
(<r) Because the unmarried is free from the tribulation of the flesh 

which attacks the married (ver. 28). 
id) Because a virgin thinks only of what is pleasing to God, but 
one that is married has a heart divided between God and his 
wife (ver. 32. ) 
(e) Because a virgin is holy in body and in soul, but the married 

not in body, and often not in soul (ver. 34). 
(/) Because he that is unmarried gives his virgin an opportunity 
to serve God without interruption, whereas the married have 
a thousand hindrances to piety and devotion (ver. 35). 

Ver. I. — Now conce7-ning the things whereof ye wrote unto me. In 
answer to the questions you have put to me about the rights, use, 
and end of matrimony and the single hfe, I answer that // is good for a 
man not to touch a tvoman. Notice here from S. Ansehii and Am- 
brose that certain false Apostles, in order to seem more holy, taught 
that marriage was to be despised, because of the words of Christ 


(S. Matt. X. 12), "There are eunuchs who have made themselves 
eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake," which they interpreted 
as applying to all Christians, especially since the act of fornication, 
which had been so severely condemned by the Apostle in the pre- 
ceding chapter, is physically the same as conjugal copulation. The 
Corinthians, therefore, asked S. Paul by letter whether Christians 
ought to be so chaste, and ought to be so much free for prayer, 
godliness, and purity as to be bound, even though married, to abstain 
altoGrether from intercourse with their wives. 

It is good for a man tiot to touch a woman. It is beautiful, ex- 
emplary, and excellent. The Greek here is koXov. So Theophylact. 
Good is not here the same as useful or expedient, as Erasmus turns 
it, but denotes that moral and spiritual good which of itself conduces 
to victory over passion, to piety, and salvation (cf. vers. 32, 34, 35). 
To touch a woman or to know is with the Hebrews a modest form of 
speech denoting the act of conjugal copulation. 

S. Jerome {lib. i. co7itra Jovin.') adds that the Apostle says touch, 
"because the very touching of a woman is dangerous, and to be 
avoided by every man." These are his words : " The Apostle does 
not say it is good 7wt to have a ivife, but ' // is good not to touch a 
woman,^ as though there were danger in the touch, not to be escaped 
from by any one who should so touch her : being one who steals aivay 
the precious souls of me?i, and makes the hearts of youths to fly out of 
their control. Shall any one tiurse a fire in his bosom and not be 
burnt 1 or walk upon hot coals and not suffer harm .? In the same 
way, therefore, that he ivho touches fire is burftt, so when i7ian and 
woman touch they fed its effect and perceive the difference between the 
sexes. The fables of the heathen relate that Mithras and Ericthonius, 
either in stone or in the earth, were generated by the mere heat of lust. 
Hence too foseph fied from the Egyptian woman, because she wished to 
touch him ; and as though he had bee?t bitten by a mad dog and feared 
lest the poison should eat its luay, he cast off the cloak that she had 
touched.'''' Let men and youths take note of these words. 

Cardinal Vitriaco, a wise and learned man, relates of S. Mary 
dOignies that she had so weakened and dried up her body by 


fastings that for several years she felt not even the first motions of 
lust, and that when a certain holy man clasped her hand in pure 
spiritual affection, and thus caused the motions of the flesh to arise, 
she, being ignorant of this, heard a voice from heaven which said, 
" Do not touch me." She did not understand it, but told it to 
another who did, and thenceforward she abstained from all such 

S. Gregory {Z)ial. lib. iv. c. 1 1) relates how S. Ursinus, a presbyter, 
had lived in chastity separated from his wife, and when he was on 
his death-bed, drawing his last breath, his wife came near and put 
her ear to his mouth, to hear if he still breathed. He, still having 
a few minutes to live, on perceiving this, said with as much strength 
as he could summon, " Depart from me, woman — a spark still lingers 
in the embers ; do not fan it into a flame." Well sung the poet : — 

" Regulus by a glance, the Siren of Achelous with a song, 
The Thessalian sage with gentle rubbing slays : 
So with eyes, with hands, with song does woman burn, 
And wield the three-forked light of angry Jove." 

S. Jerome rightly infers from this {lib. i. contra Jovht.) that it is 
an evil for a man to touch a woman. He does not say it is sinful, as 
Jovinian and others falsely alleged against hitn, but evil. For this 
touching is an act of concupiscence, and of the depraved pleasure 
of the flesh ; but it is nevertheless excused by the good of wedlock, 
but is wholly removed by the good of the single life. 

It may be urged from Gen. ii. i8, where it is said that it is not 
good for a man to be alone, that it is therefore good to touch a 
woman. I answer that in Genesis God is speaking of the good of 
the species, S. Paul of the individual ; God in the time when the 
world was uninhabited, Paul when it is full ; God of temporal good, 
Paul of the good of the eternal life of the Spirit. In this it is good 
for a man not to touch a woman. 

Ver. 2. — Nevertheless to avoid fornicatio7i let every man have his 
own 7vife. Lest being unmarried, and unwilling to live a chaste 
life, he fall into fornication. Every man, say Melancthon and 


Bucer, must include the priest and the monk. I reply that every 
man means every man that is free, not bound by vow, disease, or 
old age : for such are incapable of matrimony. Laws and docu- 
ments must be interpreted according to their subject-matter : they 
only apply to those capable of receiving them, not to those who 
are not. To him then who is free, and unbound, and can fulfil 
the requirements of matrimony, the apostle gives no precept, but 
advice and permission, that if he fears to fall into fornication he 
should marry a wife, or keep to her that he has already married, 
rather than fall into any danger of committing such a sin. So the 
Fathers whom I will quote at ver. 9 all agree in saying. This must 
be the Apostle's meaning, for otherwise he would contradict himself, 
for throughout the whole chapter he urges the life of chastity. 

Moreover, the apostle is speaking primarily to the married alone, 
and not to the unmarried. To these latter he begins to speak in 
ver. 8, Now I say to the unmarried and zvidows, where the adver- 
sative flow marks the change. He says too here let every man 
have, not let every man marry, because he is speaking to those 
who already had wives. So S. Jerome {lib. i. contra Jovin.) says, " Let 
every man that is married have his own wife," i.e., continue to have 
her, not dismiss or repudiate her, but rather use her lawfully and 
chastely. The word have signifies not an inchoate but a continuous 
action. So 2 Tim. i. 13: "Hold fast the form of sound words," 
where the same word is used. So in S. Luke xix. 26 : " Unto every 
one that hath (that uses his talent) shall be given ; a7id from him 
that hath not (does not use), cveji that he hath shall be taken away 
from him ; otherwise there cannot well be taken from a man what 
he has not. That this is the true meaning is evident from what 
follows in ver. 3. 

Ver. 3. — Zet the husband render unto the wife due benevole?tce. 
A modest paraphrase for the conjugal debt. 

Ver. 4. — The wife hath tiot power of her own body but the husband. 
She has not power, that is, over those members which distinguish 
woman from man, in so far as they serve for the conjugal act. 
Power she has not over them so as to contain at her own will or 


to have intercourse with another. That power belongs to the 
husband alone, and that for himself only, not for another. Cf. S. 
Augustine {contra Julian, lib. v.). The Greek is literally, has no 
right over her body, whether to contain or to hand it over to 

Likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the 
wife. Hence it is clear that, though in the government of the 
family the wife should be subject and obedient to her husband, 
yet in the right of exacting and returning the marriage debt she 
is equal with her husband, has the same right over his body that 
he has over hers, and this from the marriage contract, in which 
each has given to the other the same power over the body, and 
received the same power over tlie other's body. The husband, 
therefore, is as much bound to render his wife, as the wife her 
husband, faithfulness and the marriage debt. This is taught at 
length in their expositions of this passage by Chrysostom, Theo- 
phylact, Qicumenius, Primasius, Anselm, and by S. Jerome (OV. 32, 
qu. 2, cap. Apostolus^ who says that husband and wife are de- 
clared to be equal in rights and duties. " When, therefore," says S. 
Chrysostom [Horn. 19), "a harlot comes and tempts you, say that 
your body is not your oivn but your tvifs. Similarly, let the wife 
say to any one who proposes to rob her of her chastity, ' My body is 
not mine but my husband's.' " 

Ver. 5. — Defraud ye not one the other. By denying the marriage 
debt. The words and to fasting, though in the Greek, are wanting in 
the Latin. Hence Nicholas I., in his answers to the questions of the 
Bulgarians (c. 50), writes to them that, throughout the forty days of 
Lent, they should not come at their wives. But this is a matter of 

And come together again. From this Peter Martyr and the 
Magdeburgians conclude that it is not lawful for married persons 
to vow perpetual continence by mutual consent. But the answer 
to this is that the Apostle is not prescribing but permitting the mar- 
riage act. 

Ver. 6. — But I speak this by permission and fiot of comtnatidmerit. 
VOL. I. I 


1. I permit the act of copulation by way of indulgence : I do not 
prescribe it. Nay, S. Augustine {Enchirid. c. 78) takes it: "I say 
this by way of pardon." The Greek word denotes forgiveness, and 
hence S. Augustine gathers that it is a venial sin to have sexual 
connection, not for the sake of children but for carnal pleasure, 
and to avoid the temptations of Satan ; for pardon is given to what 
is sinful. So too indulgence is given in what concerns sin, or at 
all events a lesser good, as S. Thomas has rightly observed. 

2. That there is no precept given here is also evident, because 
the Apostle permits married people to contain for a time, that they 
may give themselves to fasting and to prayer ; therefore, if they agree 
to devote their whole life to fasting and to prayer, he permits them 
to contain themselves for life. 

3. He says co7ne together, and gives the reason, "that Satan 
tempt you not for your incontinency ; " i.e., that there may be no 
danger of your falling into adultery, or other acts of impurity, because 
of your incontinency. Therefore, when the cause does not exist, 
viz., the danger of incontinency, as it does not exist in those who 
have sufficient high-mindedness to curb it and tame it, he permits 
them to be continent for life. 

4. He says in ver. 7, " I would that all men were even as I my- 
self," i.e., not chaste in some way or other, but altogether continent, 
unmarried, nay, virgin souls, even as I, who am unmarried. So 
Ambrose, Theodoret, Theophylact, Anselm, Chrysostom, CEcumenius 
and Epiphanius {Hceres. 78), S. Jerome {^Ep. 22 ad Eustoch.) 

5. In the early days of the Church many married persons, in obe- 
dience to this admonition of S. Paul, observed by mutual consent 
perpetual chastity, as TertuUian tells us {ad Uxor. lib. i. c. vi., and 
de Resurr. Cam. c. 8, and de Orland. Virg. c. 13). The same is said 
by the author of commentaries de Sing. Cleric, given by S. Cyprian. 

Here are some examples of married persons, not merely of low 
estate, but people illustrious both for their birth and holiness and 
renown, who preserved their continency and chastity unimpaired in 

(i.) There are the Blessed Virgin and Joseph, who have raised the 


banner of chastity not only before virgins, but also before the married. 
(2.) We have the illustrious martyrs Cecilia and Valerian, who were 
of such merit that the body of S. Cecilia has been found by Clement 
VIII. in this age, after the lapse of so many centuries, undecayed and 
uninjured. (3.) There are SS. Julian and Basilissa, whose illustrious 
life is narrated by Surius. (4.) S. Pulcheria Augusta, sister of the 
Emperor Theodosius, made a vow to God of perpetual chastity, and 
on the death of Theodosius, married Marcian, stipulating that she 
should keep her vow, and raised him to the Imperial throne; and 
this vow was faithfully kept unbroken by both, as Cedrenus and 
others testify. (5.) We have the Emperor Henry II. and Cunegund, 
the latter of whom walked over hot iron to prove her chastity. 
(6.) There is the example of Boleslaus V., King of the Poles, who 
was called the ]\Iaid, and Cunegund, daughter of Belas, King of the 
Hungarians. (7.) King Conrad, son of the Emperor Henry IV., with 
Matilda his wife. (8.) Alphonse II., King of the Asturians, who by 
keeping himself from his wife gained the name of "the Chaste." 
(9.) Queen Richardis, who, though married to King Charles the Fat, 
retained her virginity. (10.) Pharaildis, niece of S. Amelberga and 
Pepin, was ever-virgin thougli married, (n.) Edward III. and 
Egitha were virgin spouses. (12.) Ethelreda, Queen of the East 
Angles, though twice married, remained a virgin. (13.) We have two 
married people of Arvernum, spoken of by Gregory of Tours (de 
Gloria Conf. c. xxxii.): "When the wife was dead, the husband 
raised his hands towards heaven, saying : ' I thank Thee, INIaker of 
all things, that as Thou didst vouchsafe to intrust her to me, so I 
restore her to Thee undefiled by any conjugal delight.' But she 
smilingly said : ' Peace, peace, O man of God ; it is not necessary to 
publish our secret' Shortly afterwards the husband died and was 
buried in another place ; and, lo ! in the morning the two tombs 
were found together, as it is to this day : and therefore the natives 
there are wont to speak of them as the Two Lovers, and to pay 
them the highest honour." Nowadays two examples of the same 
thing may be found. 

Ver. 7. — For I would that all mcti were even as I myself. That 


is SO far as the single life and continency is concerned. The Apostle 
means that he wishes it if it could well be. / tvould, therefore, 
denotes an inchoate and imperfect act of the will. This is evident 
too from his subjoining, 

Biit every man hath his proper gift of God. The word all again 
means each one, or all taken one by one, not collectively. For if 
all men in a body were to abstain, there would be no matrimony, 
and the human race and the world would come to an end together. 
In the same way we are said to be able to avoid all venial sins : that 
is, all taken singly, not collectively, or in other words, each one. 
Others take^^// collectively, inasmuch as if God were to inspire all 
men with this resolution of continency, it would be a sign that the 
number of the elect was completed, and that God wished to put an 
end to the world. But Paul was well aware that God at that time 
was willing the contrary, in order that the Church might increase 
and be multiplied through matrimony. The first explanation there- 
fore is the sounder. 

But €very man hath his proper gift of God, one after this ma7iner 
and another after that. That is, he has his own gift of his own will, 
says the treatise de Casiitate, falsely assigned to Pope Sixtus III., 
which is preserved in the Biblioth. SS. Fatrum, vol. v. It is, however, 
the work of some Pelagian ; for the tenor of the whole treatise is 
to show that chastity is the work of free-will, and of a man's own 
volition, and not of the grace of God. (Cf. Bellarmine, de Monach. 
lib. ii. c. 31, and de Clcricis, lib. i. c. 21, ad. 4.) But this is the 
error of Pelagius ; for if you take away the grace of God from a 
man's will it can no longer be called "his proper gift of God." For 
the will of a man is nothing else but the free choice of his own will. 
For God has given to all an equal and similar gift of free-will ; 
wherefore that one chooses chastity, another matrimony, cannot be 
said to be the gift of God if you take away His grace ; but it would 
have to be attributed to the free choice of each man, and that ciioice 
therefore in diverse things is unlike and unequal. 

Proper gift then denotes the gift of conjugal, virginal, or widowed 
chastity. But heretics say that priests therefore, and monks, if they 


have not the gift of chastity, may lawfully enter on matrimony. But 
by parity of reason, it might be said that therefore married people, if 
they have not the gift of conjugal chastity, as many adulterers have 
not, may lawfully commit adultery, or enter upon a second marriage 
with one that is an adulterer. Or again that if a wife is absent, is 
unwilling, or is ill, the husband may go to another woman, if he 
alleges that he has not the gift of widowed chastity. And although 
the passion of Luther may admit this excuse as valid, yet all shrink 
from it ; and the Romans and other heathen, by the instinct of 
nature, regarded all such tenets as monstrous. 

I reply, then, with Chrysostom and the Fathers cited, that the 
Apostle is here giving consolation and indulgence to the weak, and 
to those that are married, for having embraced the gift and state of 
conjugal chastity, when before they might have remained virgins. 
For of others that are not married he adds, // is good for them if 
they abide even as I; that is, it is good for them, if they will, to 
remain virgins ; but this I do not command, nay, I am consoling 
the married, and I permit them the due use of wedlock, in order 
that they may avoid all scruple, by the reflection that each one has 
his own gift from God, and that they have the gift of wedlock, i.e., 
conjugal chastity; for matrimony itself is a gift of God, and was 
instituted by Him. God wills, in order to replenish the earth, in 
a general and indeterminate way, that some should be married ; 
and yet this gift of wedlock is less than the gift of virginity. 

It may be said that not only is matrimony a gift from God, but 
that one is a virgin and another married is also a gift from God. 
I answer that this is true enough, as when God inspires one with 
a purpose to lead a single life, and another a married life ; as, e.g., 
in the case of a queen who may bear an honest offspring to the 
good of the realm and the Church; but still God does not always 
do this, but leaves it wholly to the decision of many whether they 
will choose the married or unmarried life. 

It will be retorted, "How, then, is it that the Apostle says that 
each one has his proper gift of God?" I answer that this word 
gift is of two-fold meaning: (i) It denotes the state itself of 


matrimony, or celibacj', or religion ; (2.) The grace that is necessary 
and pecuHar to this or that state. If you take the first, then eacli 
man's own gift is from God, but only materially, inasmuch as that 
gift which each one has chosen for himself and made his own 
is also from God. For God instituted, either directly or by His 
Church, matrimony and celibacy and other states, and gave this 
or that state to each one according as he wished for it ; and in 
this sense each one has his own gift, partly from God and partly 
from himself and his own will. But properly and formally, that 
this gift or that is proper to this or that man, is often a matter 
of free-will. Yet it may be said to be so far from God as the 
whole direction of secondary causes, and all good providence 
generally is from God. For God in His providence directs each 
one through his parents, companions, confessors, teachers, and 
through other secondary causes, by which it comes to pass that 
one devotes himself, though freely, to matrimony, another to the 
priesthood. For all this direction does not place him under 
compulsion, but leaves him free. 

Here notice i. that the Apostle might have said, "Every man 
hath his proper state of himself, having chosen it by an exercise 
of his free-will;" but he chose rather to say that "every man 
hath his proper gift of God," because he wished to console the 
married. Lest any one, therefore, who was of scrupulous conscience 
and penitent should torture himself and say, "Paul wishes us to 
be like him, single and virgins ; why ever did I then, miserable 
man that I am, enter into matrimony? It is my own fault that 
I did not embrace the better state of virginity, that I have de- 
prived myself of so great a good, that I have plunged myself 
into the cares and distractions of marriage" — for this is how- 
weak-minded, troubled, and melancholy people often look at things, 
and especially when they find difficulties in their state ; and there- 
fore they seek after higher and more perfect things, and torture 
themselves by attributing to their own imprudence the loss of 
some good, and the miseries that they have incurred — Paul, then, to 
obviate this, says that the gift, in the sense explained above, is not 

"gift" explained 135 

of man but of God. And therefore each one ought to be content 
with his state and caUing, as being the gift of God — ought to be 
happy, perfect himself, and give thanks to God. 

2. Gift may be the grace befitting each state. The married 
require one kind of grace to maintain conjugal fidelity, virgins 
another to live in virginity ; and this grace peculiar to each i?, formally 
from God, because, it being given that you have chosen a certain 
state, whether of matrimony, or celibacy, or any other, God will give 
you the grace that is proper to that state to enable you, if you will, to 
live rightly in it. For this belongs to the rightly ordered providence 
of God, that since He has not seen fit to prescribe to each of us his 
state, but has left the choice of it, as well as most other things, to 
our own free-will, He will not forsake a man when he has made his 
choice, but will give him the grace necessary for living honestly in 
that state. For God and nature do not fail us in things necessary, 
especially since God, as the Apostle says, wishes all men to be saved, 
whatever their state. Consequently He will supply to all the means 
necessary to salvation, by which, if they are willing, they will be 
enabled to live holily and be saved. For else it would be impossible 
for many to be saved, as, e.g., for religious and others who have taken 
a vow of chastity, for one married who has bound himself to a 
person that is hard to please, infirm, or detestable. To meet and 
overcome such difficulties they need to receive from God proper 
and sufficient grace. For neither the married can be loosed from 
matrimony, nor the religious from their vow, to adopt some other 
state more fitting for them. 

In this the sense of this passage is : Choose whatever state you 
like, and God will give you grace to live in it holily. So Ambrose. 
And that this is the strict meaning of the Apostle is evident from the 
words, ^^ For I would" which import: I have said that I allow, but 
do not command, the state of wedlock ; for I would that all would 
abstain from it, and cultivate chastity, and live a single life ; but still 
each one has his own gift — let him be content with that, let him ex- 
ercise that. Let the single man who has received virginal or widowed 
chastity, i.e., the grace by which he can contain himself, look upon 


it as the gift of God ; let the married, who has received conjugal 
chastity, i.e., the grace of using wedlock chastely, look upon it as the 
gift of God, be content with it, and use it as such. 

Hence it follows (i.) that God gives to monks, even though they 
be apostates, the gift of sufficient grace to enable them, if they will, 
to live chastely ; that is to say, if they pray to God, give themselves 
to fasting, to holy reading, to manual labour, to constant occupa- 
tion. Otherwise they would be bound to an impossibility, and God 
would be wanting to them in things necessary, and they would not 
have the gift proper to their state, although the Apostle here asserts 
that each one, whether unmarried, or virgin, or married, has the gift 
of chastity proper to his state. 

It follows (2.) that if any one changes his state for the better, God 
also changes and gives him a greater gift, and a greater measure of 
grace befitting that state, for this is necessary to a more perfect 
state. So the Council of Trent (Sess. xxiv. can. 9) lays down : " Jf 
any one says that clerks who have been placed in Holy Orders, or 
regulars who have solemnly professed chastity, a7id who do not think 
that they have the gift of chastity, can lawfully enter into matrimony, 
let him be anathema, since God does not defiy it to them that seek for 
it, jior suffer 2(s to be tetnpted above that we are able." 

Hath his gift of God. The gifts of God are twofold, r. Some 
are wholly from God. So the gifts of Nature, which is but another 
name for God, inasmuch as He is the Author and Maker of Nature, 
are talent, judgment, memory, and a good disposition. The gifts 
of grace again are faith, hope, charity, and all the virtues infused by 
God, as the Author of grace. 

2. Other gifts are from God indeed, but require for their d-ue 
effect our co-operation. For example, all prevenient grace and good 
inspirations are gifts of God ; so all good works, and the acts of all 
virtues, are gifts of God, says S. Augustine, because He gives {a) 
prevenient grace to excite us to these works and these actions, and 
{b) co-operating grace, by which He works with men to produce 
such things. Yet this grace so acts that man is left free, and has 
it in his power to act or not, to use this grace or not. In this sense 


all good works are gifts of God : yet they are free to man, and 
subject to his will and power. Of this second class the Apostle is 
here speaking in connection with the gift of chastity. The gift of 
chastity is, strictly speaking, an infused habit, or an acquired habit 
in those who already have it infused. But for those who have not 
yet the habit, there is sufficient help of grace, both internal and 
external, prepared for each one by God, so that by freely co-operat- 
ing with it, each one may live in chastity, if he is willing to use 
that help. And this is evident from what is said in vers. 25, 35, 38, 
about the single life being counselled by God and Christ, who puts 
it before all men, and advises them to adopt it. But God does not 
advise a man to anything which is not in his power ; but the single 
life is not in the power of each man, unless his will is helped by the 
grace of God. Therefore Christ has prepared, and is prepared to 
give to each one, this grace that is necessary to a single life and to 
virginity. If he is ready to give to each one virginal chastity, much 
more conjugal. Whoever, therefore, has his proper gift, that is his 
proper grace, in its beginning, will have it also in its perfect ending, 
if he will only pray to God earnestly and constantly to give him 
the grace prepared for him, and then co-operate vigorously with the 
grace that he has received. 

Ver. 8. — I say, therefore, to the unmarried and wfdozvs, It ts good for 
them if they abide even as I. I am unmarried : let them remain the 
same. Hence it is most evident that S. Paul had no wife, but was 

Ver. 9. — But if they cannot contain, let them marry, for it is better to 
marry than to bui-n. This may be a reference to Ruth i. 13. It is 
better to marry than to burn, unless, that is, you are already wedded 
to Christ by a vow. Cf S. Ambrose (ad Virg. Laps. c. v.). For to 
those who are bound by a vow of chastity, and are professed, as 
well as for husbands, it is better to burn and commit fornication 
than to marry a second time. For such marriage would be a per- 
manent sacrilege or adultery, which is worse than fornication, or 
some momentary sacrilege ; just as it is better to sin than to be in 
a constant state of sin, and to sin from obstinacy and contempt. 


But it is best of all neither to marry, nor to burn, but to contain, as 
Ambrose says : and this can be done by all who have professed 
chastity, as was said in ilie last note, no matter how grievously they 
may be tempted. The Apostle found it so in his sore temptation, as 
many other saints have done, and especially he to wiiom the devils 
exclaimed, when they were overcome by him and put to confusion 
through the resistance he made to their temptation : " Thou hast 
conquered, hast conquered, for thou hast been in the fire and not 
been burnt." 

Burn here does not denote to be on fire, or to be tempted by the 
heat of lust, but to be injured and overcome by it, to yield and con- 
sent to it. For it is not he that feels the heat of the fire that is said 
to be burnt by it, but he that is injured and scorched by it. So 
Virgil sings of Dido, who had been overcome by love for yEneas 
{Ai7i. 4, 68) : " The ill-starred Dido burns and wanders frantically 
about the city." Cf. also Ecclus. xxiii. 22. The Apostle is giving 
the reason why he wishes the incontinent and weak to marry, viz., 
lest they should burn, />., commit fornication ; others, who are 
combatants of great soul, he wishes to contain. In other words, let 
those who do not contain marry, for it is better to marry than to 
burn. So Theodoret, Ambrose, Anselm, S. Thomas, Augustine 
{de Sancki Virgin, c. 74), Jerome {Apolog. pro Lib. contra Jovin.). 
'•It is belter," says S. Jerome, "to marry a husband than to commit 
fornication." And S. Ambrose says : " To burn is to be at the tnercy 
of the desires ; for when the will cotise?its to the heat of the flesh it 
burns. To suffer the desires ajtd ftot be overcome by them is the part 
of an illustrious and perfect 7!ian.'" 

It may be objected that S. Cyprian {Ep. 11 ad. Potnpoti. lib. i.) 
says of virgins who have consecrated themselves to Christ, that ''' if 
they cannot or will not persevere, it is better for them to marry 
than to burn." But Pamelius, following Turrianus and Hosius, well 
replies that S. Cyprian is not speaking of virgins already consecrated 
but of those about to be. These he advises not to dedicate and 
vow themselves to Christ if they do not intend to persevere ; and 
in the same epistle he points out that they would be adulterous 


towards Christ if, after a vow of chastity, they should be wedded to 
men. Like the Apostle here, he is speaking, therefore, not of those 
who are already bound, but of those who are free. Erasmus there- 
fore is wrong and impudent, as usual, in making a note in the margin 
of this passage of S. Cyprian's, "Cyprian allows sacred virgins to 

It may be objected secondly that S. xA^ugustine says {de Sanda 
Virgifi. c. 34) that those vowed virgins who commit fornication would 
do better to marry than to burn, i.e., than to be consumed by the 
flame of lust, 

I answer (i.) that this is a mere passing remark of S. Augustine's, 
meaning that for such it would be better, i.e., a less evil to marry 
than to commit fornication. He does not deny that they sin by 
marrying, but he only asserts that they sin less by marrying than 
by committing fornication. In the same way we miglit say to a 
robber, "It is better to rob a man than to kill him," i.e., it is a less 
evil. (2.) For such it is even absolutely better to marry than to 
burn, if only they enter into wedlock lawfully, that is to say, with 
the consent of the Church and a dispensation of their vow of 
continency from the Pope. (3.) Possibly, and not improbably, S. 
Augustine's meaning was that even for those who have no such 
dispensation it is better to marry than to commit fornication per- 
sistently, i.e., to live in a state of fornication and concubinage. 
And the reason is that such a one, if she marries, sins indeed 
grievously against her vow by marrying ; yet still, after her marriage 
she may keep her vow of chastity and be free from sin, viz., by 
not exacting, but only paying the marriage debt, as the women 
commonly do of whom S. Augustine is here speaking. If, however, 
such a one is constantly committing fornication, she is by repeated 
acts constantly breaking her vow, and she consequently sins more 
grievously than she would by marrying. For those acts of fornica- 
tion constantly repeated seem to be a far worse evil and more 
grievously sinful than the single act of entering into a contract of 
marriage against a vow of continency. For though this one act 
virtually includes many, viz., the seeking and paying of the marriage 


debt as oft as it shall please either, yet this is only remotely and 
implicitly. But one who commits fornication constantly sins 
directly and explicitly, and daily repeats such actions ; therefore 
he sins more grievously. For it is worse to sin explicitly and in 
many acts than by one tacit and implicit action. 

Observe also that at the time of S. Augustine those maidens who 
had vowed and professed chastity, though they might sin by marry- 
ing, yet might contract a lawful marriage. For the Church, as S. 
Augustine gives us plainly enough to understand, had not at that 
time made the solemn vow an absolute barrier to matrimony. More- 
over, it is evident from his next words that S. Augustine is of opinion 
that such ought simply and absolutely to keep their vow of chastity; 
for he adds : " Those virgins who repent them of their profession and 
are wearied of confession, tmless they direct their heart aright, and 
again overcome their lust by the fear of God, imist he reckoned among 
the dead." 

Lastly, that the Apostle is here speaking to those who are free, 
and not to those who are bound by a vow, is proved at length 
by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, CEcumenius, by Epipha- 
nius {Hczres. 6i), Ambrose {ad Virgin. Lapsa?n c. 5), Augustine 
{de Adulter. Cotijug. lib. i. c. 15), ] QxomQ {cofitrajovin, lib. i.). S. 
Ephrem, 1300 years ago, being asked to whom this verse applies, 
wrote a most exhaustive treatise about it, in which he abundantly 
proves that it has to do, not with religious or the clergy, and those 
who have taken a vow of chastity, but with seculars who are free. 

Vers. 10,11. — And unto the married I command, Sac. The Apostle 
now passes from the question of marriage to that of divorce ; for, 
as this verse indicates, the Corinthians had put to Paul a second 
question, one relating to divorce. Granted that in matrimony its 
use was lawful, nay obligatory, as S. Paul has said, at all events may 
not one that is faithful to his marriage vow dissolve it and have a 
divorce ? And again, when a divorce has taken place, may not the 
wife or the husband marry again ? This verse and ver. 1 1 give the 
answer to the question. 

He says let her remaifi unmarried. Hence it follows that divorce, 


even supposing it to be just and lawful, does not loose the marriage 
knot, but only dispenses with the marriage debt ; so that if the wife 
is an adulteress it is not lawful for the innocent husband to enter 
into another marriage. And the same holds good for the wife if the 
husband is an adulterer. 

We should take notice of this against the heretics Erasmus, 
Cajetan, and Catharinus, who say that this cannot be proved from 
Scripture, but only from the Canons. But they mistake, as is 
evident from this passage of S. Paul's. For the Apostle is here 
speaking evidently of a just separation made by the wife when she 
is innocent, and injured by her husband committing adultery, for he 
permits her to remain separated, or to be reconciled to her husband. 
For if he were speaking of an unjust separation, such as when a 
wife flies from her husband without any fault on his side, he would 
have had not to permit of separation but altogether to order a 

It may be said that the word reconciled points to some offence and 
injury done by the wife who caused the separation, and that therefore 
S. Paul is speaking of an unjust separation. I reply by denying the 
premiss. For reconcile merely signifies a return to mutual good-will ; 
and the offending party is spoken of as being reconciled to the 
offended just as much as the offended to the offending. For instance, 
in 2 Mace. i. 5, it is said "that God may hear your prayers and be 
reconciled to you." The Councils and Fathers explain this passage 
in this way, and lay down from it that fornication dissolves the 
marriage bond so far as bed and board are concerned, but not so 
that it is lawful to marry another. Cf. Concil. Milevit. c. 1 7 ; Concil. 
Eiibert. c. 9 ; Concil. Florent. (^Instruct. Armen. de Alatrim.) ; Concil. 
Trident (Sess. xx. can. 7); Pope Evaristus {Ep. 2); S. Augustine 
de Adulter. Conjug. (lib. ii. c. 4); S. Jerome {^Ep. ad Aifiand); 
Theodoret, CEcumenius, Haymo, Anselm and others. 

It may be said that Ambrose, commenting on this verse, says that 
the Apostle speaks of the wife only, because it is never lawful for her 
to marry another after she is divorced ; but that it is lawful for the 
husband, after putting away an adulterous wife, to marry another, 


because he is the head of the woman. I answer that from this and 
similar passages it is evident that this commentary on S. Paul's 
Epistles is not the work of S. Ambrose, or at all events that these 
passages are interpolations. For in matrimony and divorce the same 
law "overns the wife which governs the husband, as the true Ambrose 
lays down {in Lucam viii. and de Abraham, lib. i. c. 4). What then 
the Apostle says of the wife applies equally to the husband ; for he 
is speaking to all that are married, as he says himself; and moreover, 
in ver. 4, he declared that the marriage rights of husband and wife 
are equal, and that each has equal power over the other's body. 

Let not the husband put away his wife. I.e., without grave and 
just cause ; for it is allowed to put her away because of fornication 
and other just causes. 

Ver. 12. — But to the rest speak I . . . let him not put her away. 

The rest are those that are married and belong to different 
religions ; and to them I say, that if a brother, i.e., one of the faithful, 
have a wife that is an unbeliever, &c. In other words, I have thus 
far spoken to married people when both are of the number of the 
faithful, as I implied in ver. 5, when I said "that ye may give your- 
selves to prayer." Now, however, I am addressing those of whom one 
is a believer, the other an unbeliever. This is the explanation given 
by many together with S. Augustine, who will be quoted directly. 

But if this is so it is certainly strange that the Apostle did not 
express himself more clearly, for by the addition of a single word he 
might have said more simply: "To the faithful who are married 
it is not I that speak but the Lord ; but to the rest, viz., to those mar- 
ried couples of whom one is an unbeliever, I speak, not the Lord." 
But by saying not to the faithful, but unto the ?narried, he seems to 
speak in general terms of all that are married, whether believers or 
unbelievers. Nor is it to be objected to this that in ver. 5 he speaks 
casually to the faithful, for there he is excepting from the general 
law which governs the marrage debt those of the faithful who are 
married, when by mutual consent they give themselves to prayer. 
But this exception is not to be made to cover all the marriage laws, 
which the Apostle in this chapter is laying down for all who are 


married. Moreover, the Apostle so far has not said a single word 
about the unbeliever, or about a difference of religion. 

Hence we may say secondly and better, that the rest are those 
who are not joined in matrimony. For by the words but and the 
rest this verse is opposed to ver. lo, as will appear more clearly 

Speak /, 7iot the Lord. " I command," says Theodoret. But S. 
Augustine {de Adulter. Conjug. lib. i. c. 13 et seq.), Anselm, and S. 
Thomas interpret it : I give the following advice, viz., that the believ- 
ing husband is not to put away an unbelieving wife who lives at 
peace with him, and vice z'ersd. 

There is a third interpretation, and the best of all, given us from 
the Roman, Plantinian, and other Bibles, which put a full stop after 
the words, Btit to the rest speak I, not the Lord, thus separating them 
from what follows and joining them to what precedes. We have then 
the meaning as follows : To the rest, viz., the unmarried, the Lord 
gives no command (supply command from ver. 10), but I say, and I 
advise what I said and advised before in ver. 8, viz., that it is good 
for them to remain as they are, unmarried. 

This interpretation too is supported by the antithesis between the 
rest and the married, by which it is clear that the rest must be the 
unmarried, not married people of different faiths. Moreover, he 
explains himself in this way in ver. 25, where he says, "Now, con- 
cerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord, yet I give my 
judgment," which is identical with he says here, "To the rest speak 
I, not the Lord." 

If a?iy brother hath a zvife that believeth not. This is the third 
question put to Paul by the Corinthians : Can one of the faithful 
that is married live with an unbelieving partner ? S. Augustine and 
others, as I have said, connect these words wiih the preceding, which 
then give as the meaning : Although Christ permitted a believer to 
put away his wife that believeth not, yet I give as my advice that he 
do not put her away ; for to put her away is neither expedient for 
her salvation nor for that of the children, if she is willing to live 
with a believer without casting reproach on her Creator and on the 


faith. Hence many doctors, cited by Henriquez {de Matrim. lib. 
xi. c. 8), gather indirectly by analogy that, since Paul forbids what 
Christ permits, one of the faithful that is married may, by Christ's 
permission, put away an unbelieving partner that refuses to be 
converted, and contract another marriage. On the contrary, when 
both are believers, neither is allowed this, as has been said. But 
if we separate these words, as the Roman Bible does, from the 
preceding, by a full stop, nothing of the kind can be proved. Nay, 
Thomas Sanchez {de Matri?n. vol. ii. disp. 73, no. 7), who does not 
read any full stop, as S. Augustine does not, and so refers these words 
to what follows, thinks that all that is exactly to be gathered from 
this is that Christ permits to a married believer separation a toro, 
but not dissolution of a marriage entered into with one that 
believes not. In the third place, this passage might be explained 
to mean that Christ laid down no law on this matter, but left it to 
be settled by His Apostles and His Church, according to needs of 
different ages, as, e.g.., the Church afterwards declared the marriage 
of a believer with an unbeliever null and void, if one was a believer 
at the time of the marriage. According to S. Augustine's reading, 
this rendering is obtained with difficulty ; according to the Roman, 
not at all. For all that the Apostle means is that the believer is 
not to put away an unbeliever, if the latter is willing to live with 
the former. Cf. note to ver. 15. 

Infidelity in S. Paul's time was no impediment that destroyed 
a marriage contracted with a believer, nor did it prevent it from 
being contracted, if the believer ran no risk of apostatising, and 
if the unbeliever would consent to live in peace with the believer, 
retaining his faith, as S. Paul here lays down. But now by long 
custom it has become the law of the Church that not heresy but 
infidelity not only impedes, but also destroys a marriage which 
any one who was a believer at the time might wish to contract with 
an unbeliever. 

Ver. 14. — For the unbelievijig husba?id is sanctijied by the wife. 
Such union by marriage is holy. The believer, therefore, is not, 
as you so scrupulously fear, defiled by contact wiih an unbeliever, 



but rather the unbeliever, as Anselm says, is sanctified by a kind 
of moral naming and sprinkling of holiness, both because he is 
the husband of a holy, that is a believing, wife, and also because 
by not hindering his wife in her faith, and by living happily with 
her, he as it were paves the way for himself to be converted 
by the prayers, merits, words, and example of his believing wife, 
and so to become holy. So did S. Cecilia convert her husband 
Valerian ; Theodora, Sisinnius ; Clotilda, Clod^vus. So say Anselm, 
Theophylact, Chrysostom. 

S. Natalia, the wife of S. Adrian, is illustrious for having not 
only incited her husband to adopt the faith, but also most gloriously 
to undergo martyrdom for it. For when she had heard that women 
were forbidden to serve the martyrs, and that the prison-doors 
would not be opened to them, she shaved off her hair, and having 
donned man's dress, she entered the prison and strengthened the 
hearts of the martyrs by her good offices. Other matrons followed 
her example. At length the tyrant Maximianus discovered the 
fraud, and ordered an anvil to be brought into the prison, and the 
arms and legs of the martyrs to be placed on it and smashed with 
a crow-bar. The lictors did as they had been ordered ; and when 
the Blessed Natalia saw it, she went to meet them and asked them 
to begin with Adrian. The executioners did so, and when the leg 
of Adrian was placed on the anvil, Natalia caught hold of his foot 
and held it in position. Then the executioners aimed a blow 
with all their might, and cut off his feet and smashed his legs. 
Forthwith Natalia said to Adrian, " I pray thee, my lord, servant 
of Christ, while your spirit remains in you, stretch forth your hand 
that they may also cut that off, and that you may be made like the 
martyrs in all things : for greater sufferings have they endured 
than these." Then Adrian stretched out his hand, and gave it to 
Natalia, who placed it on the anvil, and then the executioners cut 
it off. Then they took the anvil away, and soon after his spirit 
fled. Cf. his life, September 8th. 

It is worth our notice what Gennadius, Patriarch of Constanti- 
nople, writes, in his exposition of the Council of Florence (Sess. v.) of 

VOL. I. K 


Theophilus, a heretic and not a heathen emperor, son of Michael 
the Stammerer, who was saved by the prayers of his wife Augusta. 
He had made an onslaught on images, and his mouth was in con- 
sequence so violently pulled open that men might see down his 
throat. This brought him to his senses, and he kissed the holy 
image. Shortly afterwards he was taken away to appear before the 
tribunal of God, and through the prayers offered for him by his wife 
and by holy men he received pardon ; for the queen in her sleep 
saw a vision of Theophilus bound and being dragged by a vast 
multitude, going before and following. Before him were borne 
different instruments of torture, and she saw those following who 
were being led to punishment until they came into the presence of 
the terrible Judge, and before Him Theophilus was placed. Then 
Augusta threw herself at the feet of the Dread Judge, and with 
many tears besought Him earnestly for her husband. The terrible 
Judge said to her : " O woman, great is thy faith ; for thy sake, and 
because of the prayers of thy priests, I pardon thy husband." Then 
He said to His servants : " Loose him, and deliver him to his wife." 
It is also said that the Patriarch Methodius, having collected and 
written down the names of all kinds of heretics, including Theophilus, 
placed the roll under the holy table. Then in the same night on 
which the queen saw the vision, he too saw a holy angel entering 
the great temple, and saying, " O Bishop, thy prayers are heard, and 
Theophilus has found pardon." On awaking from sleep he went 
to the holy table, and, oh ! the unsearchable judgment of God, he 
found the name of Theophilus blotted out. Cf. also Baronius 
{Aftftal. vol. ix., A.D. 842). 

Else were your children tmclean. If you were to put away a wife 
that believed not, vour children would be looked unon as having 
been born in unlawful wedlock, and as therefore illegitimate. But, 
as it is, they are holy, i.e., clean — conceived and born in honourable 
and lawful wedlock. So Ambrose, Anselm, Augustine {de Peccat. 
Meritis. lib. ii. c. 26). In the second place they would be strictly 
unclean, because they would be enticed into infidelity, and edu- 
cated in it by the unbelieving parent, who had sought for the divorce 


through hatred of his partner ; and especially if it is the father that 
is the unbeliever, for in such cases the children for the most part 
follow the father. But if the believer remain in wedlock with the 
unbeliever, the children are hoh\ because, with the tacit permission 
of the unbeliever, they can easily be sanctified, baptized, and 
Christianly educated through the faith, the diligence, and care of 
the believer. So S. Augustine {dc Pcccat. Meritis. lib. iii. c. 12), 
and after Tertullian, S. Jerome {ad Paulin. Ep. 153). It is from this 
passage that Calvin and Beza have gathered their doctrine of imputed 
righteousness, teaching that the children of believers are strictly 
holy, and can be saved without baptism. They say that by the very 
fact that they are children of believers they are regarded as being 
born in the Church, according to the Divine covenant in Gen. xvii. 
7: "I will be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee." Similarly, 
in the Civil Law, when one parent is free the children are born free. 

But these teachers err. For (i.) the Apostle says equally that the 
unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife. But it is 
not precisely correct to say that such a man is sanctified through his 
wife ; neither, therefore, is it strictly true of the child. (2.) The 
Church is not a civil but a supernatural republic, and in it no one is 
born a Christian ; but by baptism, which has taken the place of cir- 
cumcision, every one is spiritually born again and is made holy, not 
civilly but really, by faith, hope, and charity infused into his soul. 
This is the mind of the Fathers and the whole Church. (3.) It is 
said absolutely in S. John iii. 5, that " except a man be born again of 
water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." 
It is therefore untrue that any one not born of water, but merely of 
believing parents, can enter into the kingdom of God. 

Ver. 15. — But if the tmhdieving depart, let him depart. If the 
unbeliever seek for a dissolution of the marriage, or will not live with 
his partner without doing injury to God, by endeavouring to draw 
her away to unbelief or to some wickedness, or by uttering blasphemy 
against God, or Christ, or the faith, then, as Sanchez lays down from 
the common consent of the Doctors of the Church (vol. ii. disp. 74), 
he by so acting is rightly regarded to wish for a separation ; then le^ 


the believer depart from the unbelieving, because it is better, says S. 
Chrysostom, to be divorced from one's husband than from God. 

Observe that the Apostle in this case allows a separation, not only 
a toro but also a vinculo ; and therefore the believer may contract 
another marriage, this being a concession made by Christ in favour 
of the faith ; otherwise a Christian man or woman would be subject 
to slavery. For it is a grievous slavery to be bound in matrimony 
to an unbeliever, so as not to be able to marry another, and to be 
bound to live a life of celibacy, even if the unbeliever depart. So 
S. Augustine {de Adulter. Conjug. lib. i. c. 13), S. Thomas, and S. 
Ambrose, who says : "The marriage obedience is not owing to him 
who scoffs at the Author of marriage, but in such case remarriage is 

Further, many doctors, cited by Henriquez {de Matrim. lib. xi. c. 
8), amongst whom is S. Augustine (de Adulter. Conjug. lib. i. c. xix.), 
gather from this verse and from verse 12 that the believer whose 
unbelieving partner is not willing to be converted, even though he 
may be willing to live with her without injury to God, has by this 
very fact a right to enter upon a new marriage. But S. Paul and the 
Canonical decrees (cap. Quanta, cap. Gaudemus, tit. de Divort, and 
cap. Si Lifidelis 28, qu. 2) only deal with the case where the un- 
believer wishes to depart, or where he is a blasphemer against the 
faith. And, therefore, other doctors, cited by Henriquez, think that 
in this case it is lawful for the believer to marry again. And this 
opinion is the more sound not only for the reason given above, but 
also because the Fathers who support the first opinion rely on glosses 
on the various capitula, which are merely glosses of Orleans, and if 
anything darken the text. 

Moreover, no gloss by itself can be the foundation of a right, 
or of a new law. Since, therefore, it is agreed that the marriage 
of unbelievers is true marriage, and that it is not dissolved by the 
conversion of either party, because there is no law of God or of 
the Church to dissolve it, it follows that they must hold to their con- 
tract, which by its very nature is indissoluble. This is strengthened 
by the consideration that each party possesses good faith ; therefore 


it cannot be set aside, unless it is agreed that eiiher or botli have 
no ria;ht to this marriaoie, or that one loses his rio-ht tlirouah the 
conversion of the other. Tiiis, however, is not agreed on, but is 
highly doubtful. In matters of doubt the position of the possessor 
is the stronger, and he ought not to be ousted from it because of 
any doubt that may arise. 

Nevertheless, Sanchez adds {disp. 74, 7ium. 9) that it is lawful 
for the believer to marry again, because it is now forbidden by the 
Church to live with an unbeliever who will not be converted, 
because of the danger of perversion which exists nearly always. 
The unbeliever is then looked upon as having departed, because 
he refuses to live with the believer in a lawful and proper manner. 
But Sanchez means tiiat the Church now forbids in general a 
believer to continue to live with an unbeliever. But this is denied 
by Navarrus and others ; for though the Fourth Council of Toledo 
forbids a believer to live with an unbeliever if he is a Jew, this 
was done merely because of the obstinate tenacity of the Jews to 
their creed. Neither here nor elsewhere is marriage with a heathen 

Moreover, the Council of Toledo was merely local, and this 
same canon has been differently interpreted by different authors, 
as Sanchez says {disp. 73, num. 6). And in truth it would be hard 
and a just cause of offence if, in India, China, and Japan, when the 
faith is first preached. Christians should be compelled to put away 
the wives that they had married when unbelievers, or if wives 
should be compelled to leave their husbands who were unwilling 
to be converted to Christianity, especially when they were in high 
position ; for occasion would be taken from thence to exterminate 
Christians and their faith. The case is different in Spain and 
amongst Christians, where the Church might, without causing 
scandal, enact this, either by a general law (which as a matter of 
fact does not exist, as I have said), or by use and custom, by for- 
bidding individuals in particular to remain in marriage with one that 
was not a believer, because of the danger of perversion. Such a 
precept it would be the duty of the believer to obey, and therefore 


it would not be he that was in fault, but the unbeliever, who, by 
refusing to live in marriage, according to the law binding on the 
believing partner and the precept of the Church, becomes the 
cause of the separation. By so acting, the unbeliever will be 
reckoned to wish for separation, and consequently it would be 
lawful for the believer to contract another marriage, as Sanchez 
learnedly argues. For example, Queen Csesara, wife of the King 
of the Persians in the time of the Emperor Mauritius, fled secretly 
to Constantinople, and was there converted and baptized. When 
her husband requested her to return, she refused to do so unless 
he became a Christian. He then went to Constantinople and was 
there baptized, and assisted out of the font by Augustus, and 
having received his wife again, he returned joyfully to his home. 
This happened about the year 593, as Baronius relates on the 
authority of Paul the Deacon and Gregory of Tours. All that 
has been said must be clearly understood to refer to matrimony 
contracted when both parties were unbelievers, followed by the 
conversion of one and the refusal of the other to be converted.; 
for matrimony contracted by an unbeliever with a believer has 
been declared null and void by the Church since the time of S. 
Paul ; and thence it is that difference of faith is a barrier to 
matrimony. This was the reason why Theresa, sister of Adel- 
phonsus. King of Liege, refused to marry Abdallah, King of the 
Arabs, unless he adopted the Christian faith. This he promised, 
but falsely. Therefore on the arrival of Theresa he forced her, 
in spite of her struggles ; but being smitten by God with a sore 
disease, he was unable to be cured without sending back Theresa 
to her brother. This is told by Roderic, Vazseus, and Baronius 
(a.d. 983). 

S. Eurosia too, daughter of the King of Bohemia, having been 
taken prisoner by the King of the Moors, chose death rather than 
marriage with him ; and while she was patiently awaiting the sword 
of the executioner, she heard an angel saying, "Come, my elect, the 
spouse of Christ, receive the crown which the Lord hath prepared 
for you, and the gift that your prayers shall be heard as often as the 


faithful call upon you for help against rain or any storm whatso- 
ever." Having heard these words, her arms and legs having been 
lopped off, she gave up the ghost, being renowned for her miracles, 
as Lucius Marinseus Siculus relates {de Rebus Hispan. lib. v.). 

But God hath called us unto peace. Peace of conscience with God, 
and of agreement with men. Therefore, on our part, let us not de- 
part from unbelieving husbands, but live with them as peacefully as 
we can. Secofidly, and more (i\.\y, peace here stands for that rest and 
tranquil life to which the Apostle is urging the married believer. 
Such a life in separation and solitude is to be preferred to marriage 
with an unbeliever who wishes to depart, and who is perpetually 
provoking the believer to quarrel, and disturbing his peace. This 
better agrees with the mention of departure which has gone just 
before these words, and of which I shall have more to say. 

Ver. 16. — For what knoiuest thou, O wife, ivhether thou shall save 
thy husbandl If we take the first meaning of " peace" given above, 
the sense will be : Live in peace as far as you can, O believer, with 
your unbelieving partner, for you know not the good that he may 
derive thence : perhaps by living with him you will convert him and 
save him. So Chrysostom, Ambrose, Anselm, Theophylact, and 
others. If we take the second meaning of peace, the sense will be 
still better. Peace is the gift of Christ ; to this have we been called 
by Christ, not to unhappy and quarrelsome slavery. If, therefore, 
the unbeliever seeks by quarrels, abuse, by threats against the faith 
and against his faithful partner, to drive her away, let her depart and 
live peacefully, and give up all hope of his conversion. For what 
ground of hope is there of one that is a heathen, blasphemous, and 
quarrelsome ? Therefore, what do you know, or whence do you hope 
to save him ? 

Ver. 17. — But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord 
hath called every one, so let him walk. I have said thus much about 
the marriage of an unbeliever with a believer, and about separation 
and divorce, if the unbeliever seek for it, and about living together 
in peace ; but I do not wish to be understood to mean that a divorce 
is to be souijht for, or that peace is to be broken, merely through 


lust and a desire to change one's state, as, e.g., that a believer, because 
he is a believer and called to Christian liberty, may desire and find 
an excuse for changing his servile condition into one of freedom, 
his position as a Gentile into that of a Jew. I ordain, therefore, 
that each one of the faithful, whether he be a Jew or a Gentile, 
bond or free, maintain the state and condition which the Lord 
has given him, and which he had before he became a believer. 
Let each one walk in his own line ; let him be content with that, 
and live as becometh a Christian ; let him not grow restless to 
change his state because of his Christianity, and so cause the 
Gentiles to stumble. 

This seems to be the answer to a fourth question put to Paul 
by the Corinthians, viz., whether Christians who had been slaves 
before conversion became free when they were made Christians 
— Christian liberty, it might seem, calls for this ; and, again, 
whether Gentiles who had been made, or were about to be made 
Christians, ought to be circumcised as the Jews. For the Apostles 
and the first Christians were Jews, and were made into Christians 
out of Judaism, and hence some thought that Judaism was a 
necessary medium between heathenism and Christianity. . To both 
questions Paul gives an answer in the negative. 

Ver. 1 8. — Let him not become imcircumcised. For the possibility 
of the actual restoration of the forsaken, see Celsus {lib. vii. c. 25). 
For its actual use by apostate Jews, see i ALacc. i. 18, and 
Josephus {Antiq. lib. xii. c. 6) and Epiphanius {de Ponder, et 
Mesiir^. The latter says that Esau was the author of this practice, 
and that therefore it was said of him: "Esau have I hated." He 
also tells us that Jews, when they passed over to the Samaritans, 
were commonly circumcised a second time, and that Symmachus, 
who was as famous as Aquila and Theodotion as an interpreter of 
Holy Scripture, was so treated. Similarly, the Anabaptists baptize 
again those who have left their ranks and then returned. There is 
a reference to this perhaps in INIartial's Epigram, where he speaks 
of not flying from the circumcised Jew, and in Juvenal's \Hor. i. Sat. 
V. 100], saying, "Let the uncircumcised Jew believe it; I will not." 


S. Jerome, in commenting on Isa. liii., gives these words a mystical 
and symbolical meaning : " Art thou called being unmarried, then 
do not marry." But this is outside the literal meaning. 

Ver. 19. — Circumcision is notJmig. It neither profits nor prevents 
the salvation of a Christian. He is treating of converted Jews, as 
appears from what has gone before. So Cajetan, Ambrose, Anselm. 

Ver. 20. — Let every Juan abide in the same caiiing wherein he was 
called. If one that is circumcised, or that is a slave, or married, 
come to Christianity, let him not on that account change his state, 
but remain circumcised, a slave, or married. The state was to be 
retained, provided it were one that was lawful and honest. S. 
Cyprian refused to admit actors to the sacraments of the Church. 

S. Ephrem {Adhortat. 4, vol. ii.) says well: "7;^ whatever work 
you have deen called, strengthen your anchors a7id ropes, that you 7nay 
be safe, as if in port, from all stor/ns, a?td that your ship may not be 
driven out into the ocean." 

Ver. 21. — Art thou called being a servant? Care not for it. Be 
not anxious about your state, as though slavery were inconsistent 
with your Christian profession ; be rather glad that you have been 
set free by Christ from the slavery of sin and death, and made the 
servant of God, even though in this life you are the servant of man, 
so long as it shall seem good to God. Cf. the apophthegms quoted 
in the notes to Exod. i. 12. 

There is a golden saying of S. Augustine {Sentcnt. num. 53) ; He 
says : " Whatever evil a jnastcr does to the righteous is not pimishment 
for misdoing but a trial of their virtue. For a good man, even though 
he be a slave, is free ; but a bad man, though he be a king, is a slave ; 
nor does he serve o?te perso?i only, but, what is far worse, he has as 
many masters as vices." Again {7ium. 24), he says : " God's service is 
always freedom, for He is served, not of necessity but from love." 

But if thou mayest be made free, use it rather, i. Use tliat slavery 
as a cause of humility to the glory of God. Hence Theodoret 
explains it thus : Grace knows no difference between slavery and 
freedom. Do not, therefore, flee from slavery as though it were 
inconsistent with the faith ; but, if it is possible for you to obtain 


your freedom, yet go on as a slave and await your reward. So too 
it is explained by S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, and S. Thomas. What 
follows is in perfect harmony with this exposition. 

2. It is better, however, to explain it thus : If you gain your 
freedom, embrace it and enjoy it. The word rather points clearly 
to this meaning, for who is there that would not prefer freedom 
to slavery, especially if he is a slave of an unbeliever, so that he 
cannot serve Christ freely? S. Paul clearly advises this after- 
wards when he says, " Ye are bought with a price : be not ye the 
servants of men." 

We should notice that the Apostle is here speaking not of 
hired servants, such as are found among Christians now-a-days, 
but such as were the absolute property of their master, such as 
the Gentiles had, even when converted to Christianity, such as 
even now Christians have from the Turks and Moors. The oppo- 
sition is between slaves and free-men. 

S. Jerome {in Apolog. pro lib. ad /ovi/i.), following Origen 
{in Epis. ad. Rom. lib. i.), explains this passage of the service of 
matrimony. " If, like a slave, you have been bound to matrimony, 
care not for it ; do not torture yourself as though it were impossible 
to live a godly life when married and attain salvation. Still, if 
you can persuade your wife to set you free and let you live 
separately as a single man, rather choose this." But the former 
sense is the simpler and more relevant. 

Ver. 2 2. — For he that is called in the Lord being a servant. 
These words, by a common Hebrew mode of speech, refer to the 
first clause of the preceding verse, and not to the words immediately 
preceding. The Apostle's chief aim here is to teach slaves to be 
content with their servile condition, and to bear it patiently, until 
God in His providence should appoint them another by giving 
them their freedom. They have been already called in the Lord, 
i.e., by the Lord, to the faith and grace of Jesus Christ. 

Ls the Lord's freedman. Has been set free by Christ, and called 
to Christian liberty. Slaves, if they become Christians, are not 
to seek to be set free from their master's service, but are to 


rejoice that they have been called from the service of sia into 
the freedom of grace and adoption of the sons of God. Cf. 
Chrysostom here, and lloin. xix. {in Morali.), where he shows 
that there is no antagonism between slavery and Christianity. 

Ver. 23. — Ye are bought with a price. By the blood of Christ, 
which is called the price of our redemption. So Ambrose. Christ 
bought and redeemed you with a heavy price from the slavery 
of sin, and has made you children, and, therefore, be not ye the 
servants of vicn : do not sell yourselves into slavery if you can 
enjoy freedom. This civil freedom befits the freedman of Christ, 
and in it he can more completely serve Christ, more so than he 
does any owner, especially one that is a heathen. 

Constantine the Great, about the year 330, in honour of Christ, 
and as an indulgence to His religion, decreed that no Jew should 
have a Christian slave. Any Jew who should disobey was to be 
beheaded, and his slave set at liberty. He thought it impious 
that Christians, who had been redeemed by the death of Christ, 
should be subjected to the yoke of slavery by those who had 
slain the Redeemer. This law was confirmed by the three sons 
of Constantine (Sozomen, lib. iii. c. 17). S. Gregory too ordered 
that the slave of a Jew who wished to be converted to Christianity 
should at his admission become free {/ib. iii. Ii!/>. 9). The Fourth 
Council of Toledo (cap. 64) has a similar enactment. 

This is to be understood of Jews and pagans who are subject to 
the jurisdiction of some Christian prince. The Christian slaves of 
such become by that vary fact free, and may therefore leave their 
master ; nay, if they are unbelievers, they may fly to the Church to 
become Christians and therefore free. For of these the laws say : 
In the case of those unbelievers who are not temporally subject to 
the Church or her members, the Church has not laid down the 
above-named right, although she might rightly do so. For she has 
the authority of God ; and unbelievers, by reason of their unbelief, 
deserve to lose their power over believers, who are transferred into 
children of God. IJut this the Church does not do, in order to 
avoid scandal, as S. Thomas says (pt. ii. qu. x. art. 10). * 


Others not amiss explain this passage thus : Do not be the 
servants of men in such a way as to neglect the obedience owing to 
God. For they become servants of men who regard the opinion of 
men above all things, and flatter them even when they do wrong, 
and obey and serve them in all things, even when they order them 
to sin. So S. Chrysostom and Jerome {in Ep. ad Eph. vi.). For in 
Eph. vi. the Apostle bids servants serve their masters, not as men- 
pleasers, but as serving the Lord, and for the Lord's sake. 

Ver. 24. — Brethren, let every man wherein he is called therein abide 
with God. Whatever a man's state when he comes to Christianity, 
whether bond or free, in that let him stay. With God implies that 
by so doing he will serve God, for if otherwise the Gentiles would 
complain that Christianity made their slaves restless and ambitious 
of liberty. 

A^er. 25. — Now concerning virgins I have no C077ima7id)nent of the 
Lord: yet I give my judgment. I have no command that they are to 
remain virgins and serve God in that state, but I advise them to 
do so. This is the fifth question of the Corinthians, and the answer 
is that the law of Christ has no precept bidding them remain 
virgins, but that it is better for all to do so. 

From this passage is proved the common opinion of the Fathers, 
that the single life is in our power if we seek it from God, and strive 
after it with undaunted fortitude, and co-operate with God's grace 
through the appointed means. In this way every one can, if he 
likes, live unmarried, however much he may be by nature or habit 
inclined to impurity. Tertullian teaches this {de Monoga?n.), Chry- 
sostom, Origen, Jerome (in S. Matt. c. xix.), Ambrose {de Viduis), 
Augustine {Etiarr. in Ps. cxxxviii.), who says, " He who bids you 
take the vow, Himself helps you keep it." And again (Conf. lib. vi. 
c. 11): "I know that Thou wouldst give me continence if I were 
but to deafen Thy ears with my inward groaning." S. Paul too 
plainly implies the same thing in this verse and in ver. 7, where he 
recommends virginity to all. He would not counsel us nor order 
us to do anything but what lay in our own power, i.e., save what we 
can do with the grace of God which God has prepared for us, and 


\vhich He offers to us, only waiting for us to ask for it, and to be 
willing to co-operate with it. 

Christ teaches the same in S. Matt, xix., where, on the Apostles' 
saying that, because of the burden and difficulties of matrimony, it 
was not expedient to marry, He gave His approbation to what they 
said, adding : (i.) "All men cannot receive this saying." Origen and 
Nazianzen {Orat. de tribiis Eunuch. Ge?ier.) take this, "all are not 
capable of this saying," understanding by capacity the natural 
leaning towards chastity, which all have not. But others take it 
better as meaning that all men do not receive this saying as vessels 
receive liquids : they do not approve of it, do not understand it, do 
not embrace chastity because of its difficulty. Hence Christ adds : 
(2.) "There be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs," 
viz., of their own free will they have made themselves chaste, and 
have strengthened their purpose by a life-long vow. For this is the 
signification of the word eunuch — moral impotence. If the mean- 
ing is otherwise, it would have been better for Christ to say, "There 
be some who are making themselves eunuchs, or endeavouring to 
make themselves eunuchs." So S. Jerome, Epiphanius {Hcsres. 
58), Fulgentius {de Fide ad Petrum, c. iii.), Augustine {de Sancia 
Virgin, c. 30). 

Christ adds (3.) that these eunuchs have made themselves such, 
not because of the inconveniences of marriage, nor even because 
of the Gospel, that they may preach it better, as heretics wrest 
these words of Christ, but "for the kingdom of heaven's sake," i.e., 
that they may merit to obtain it. So Origen, Hilary, Chrysostom, 
Euthymius, and S. Augustine (de Sa?icta Virgin, c. 23). 

Lastly, Christ ends by saying : " He that is able to receive it, let 
him receive it." These are the words of one who is exhorting and 
urging others to heroic virtue as well as to an illustrious reward. By 
these words, therefore, Christ puts before all a counsel of chastity 
as a thing that is most heroic and excellent. Christ does not sa}*, 
says Chrysostom, all cannot, but all do not receive it, i.e., all in- 
deed can receive it, but all do not wish to. He says : "The power 
of making themselves eunuchs has been given by God to those 


that have sought for it, have wished for it, and have laboured to 
obtain it. 

It may be objected, Why, then, does Christ say, " He that is 
able to receive it, let him receive it?" For by these words He 
implies that all cannot receive it. I reply that by the words Jie 
that is able, He merely means that it is a hard and difificuit 
matter. In other words, he who is willing to force himself, who 
is willing to strive with all his might to accomplish so arduous a 
task, let him receive it and obtain it. So in the comic writer it 
is said, "I cannot, mother, take this woman as my wife," i.e., I am 
unwilling, because it is difficult for me to do so, because this wife 
does not please me. Frequently also in Scripture the difficult is 
spoken of as impossible. Again, all cannot contain by their own 
power, but by received power they can. They can pray, and 
by their prayers and co-operation obtain for themselves an imme- 
diate power of continence. 

Although, therefore, all have not the gift of continency enabling 
them actually to contain, as all the righteous have not the gift of 
perseverance to enable them actually to persevere in grace; yet, 
just as all the righteous have the gift of perseverance by which 
they can, if they like, persevere, so can all have the gift of 
continency if only they seek for strength from God for it, and 
co-operate with God's grace coming through the appointed means. 
It is different with the gift of prophecy, and other gifts that are 
given gratuitously, which frequently we can obtain neither by prayer 
nor by co-operation. Nevertheless, since there are some who 
both by nature and use are prone to lust, and have not the spirit to 
labour earnestly after that heroic virtue which by the grace of 
God they might have, but easily allow themselves to be led 
astray by nature and habit, so as to yield to the temptations of 
lust, hence it is better for them and others equally weak to enter 
into matrimony, "for it is better to marry than to burn." Cf. 
vers. 2, 5, 9. 

As one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. I 
counsel virginity, as being he who has been mercifully called to 


the grace of Apostleship among the Gentiles, in order to counsel 
them faithfully. So Ambrose, Anselm, Theodoret. In other 
words, the more unworthy I am when compared with the other 
Apostles, the greater is the mercy and grace with which I have 
been called to the apostolate, and the more incumbent is it upon 
me to be faithful, and to give faithful counsel to those to whom 
I have been sent by Christ. 

Ver. 26. — / suppose, therefore, that this is good. Either virginity, 
with Ambrose and others, or else that they remain virgins, as was 
said in the note to ver. 25. 

For the present distress. The necessity, say some, of travelling 
about to evangelise the whole world, which would be difficult for 
one who was hampered by a wife and children. But Paul is 
not writing this to Apostles or Evangelists, but to the citizens of 
Corinth ; and, therefore, others understand a reference to the 
distress of the persecutions and flights in the primitive Church. 
The virgins were well able to escape from tyrants, but the married, 
being weighed down with wife and children, found this difficult. 
At that time, therefore, celibacy was preferable to marriage. This 
is the way that heretics understand this passage. 

But Calvin finds fault with this. He admits that the Apostle 
here counsels celibacy for the whole world and in all ages, 
even in such peaceful times as our own ; but he understands the 
distress to be the disquiet and the various afflictions by which 
the saints are harassed in this life, because of which celibacy 
is to be counselled before matrimony. But this, though true, is 
far-fetched. I say, then, that the present distress is that which the 
Apostle defines and explains in vers. 28 and 29, and is two- fold. 
And here observe that the Greek word for present has two signifi- 
cations : (a) the literal present, opposed to the future, as in Rom. viii. 
38 and I Cor. iii. 22 ; (/>) it signifies imminent, urgent, pressing. 
Both meanings are suitable here. 

I. T\\\s present distress is that which is incumbent on matrimony, 
and inseparable from it, arising from the difficulties, annoyances, 
and troubles, such as cliild-bearing, labour, the bringing up of 


children, the cares, anxieties, rivalries, quarrels, and maintenance 
of the family ; the solicitude to grow rich and to form good alliances 
by marriage ; overbearingness on the part of the husband ; hasti- 
ness of temper, drunkenness, extravagance, poverty, bereavement, 
and the constant distraction of mind springing from all these, 
and the being occupied about such things. Explaining himself 
in ver. 28, he calls all these "trouble in the flesh," and opposes 
this to the pleasure of marriage. So Ambrose, Anselm, Chrysostom, 

2. It is simpler and more obvious to say that the present distress 
is the shortness of this life, which is always pressing upon us, and 
hurrying us onwards towards death and eternity. The present 
distress thus denotes the shortness of the time which is given 
us to gain eternal life, and which, therefore, is to be given, not 
to the world nor to matrimony, but to the soul and to God. So 
Chrysostom, Anselm, and S. Jerome {co?if. Jovin. lib. i.). " This 
distress" he says, "is the necessity of dying shortly." In this 
short life we have the necessity laid on us of pleasing God, and 
of carefully preparing good works, that so we may live in bliss 
throughout eternity. Therefore we are counselled to virginity ; 
for virginity can give itself wholly to God, while the married are 
distracted by the burdens of wedlock. As the ant throughout 
the summer lays up store of grain for the winter, so should we 
collect merits for eternity. S. Paul explains this distress in ver. 
29 : Do you, he seems to say, long for a wife, for children, for 
conjugal delights? Do you thirst for these things, and set your 
affections and thoughts on them ? Is it your sole purpose to per- 
petuate your name, your family, your race? Are you heaping up 
riches, buying farms, building houses, as though you would dwell 
in them for ever ? Recollect the saying of Horace, " Land and 
home and beloved wife must be left behind" {Carmin. ii. 14, 21). 

I. Why do you weary and torment yourself with toils ? Why buy 
with such sorrows a short-lived pleasure, the fame of your name 
and family ? Why hope for long endurance ? Transient is what- 
ever you see here, whatever you lust for j transitory this present life. 


Thirty years of manhood is all that is given us here below. Listen 
to the poet: "The short span of life forbids us to entertain any 
far-reaching hope." 

2. Death is pressing upon you : towards it you are hastening with 
relentless speed. Judgment awaits you ; an eternity is at hand, 
unending and inevitable. God is constraining you, and forcing you 
to prepare yourself for it and hasten towards it. 

3. God has given you this short life, this present time — not that 
you may spend it in wedded bliss, not that you may found a family, 
or establish a seat, or enjoy the present as though you were to 
remain here for ever— but solely and entirely that in it, as the 
arena for virtue, you may hasten to your goal and to the prize of 
an eternity of bliss ; that on that bliss you should hang with eyes, 
with mind, with soul, and for it earnestly strive, and keep it ever 
before you as your goal and the end of all your actions. Wherefore 
though the world is full of folly, there is none greater or made to 
suffer more than that which so neglects its supreme and everlasting 
good, and so eagerly pursues what is perishable and empty, at so 
great risk of eternal damnation. 

4. Reflect daily. So much of my life has now flown by that 
perhaps not much is left. Every day that I live brings me nearer 
to death ; what if it should meet me to-day or to-morrow ? Have I 
so lived as not to fear to die ? Have I laid by in store merits and 
good works by which I may live throughout eternity ? On this thy 
salvation turns as on a hinge : why then dost thou not give thyself 
wholly to it ? 

5. Why do you busy yourself about other matters? Why do you 
divide your mind between your wife, your children, your household, 
so as to think throughout the day scarcely once of God or heaven ? 
Why do you not collect yourself wholly for that one thing which 
is needful, and choose with Mary the best part ? Why hunger 
after gain, wealth, position, and family alliances ? All men's cares 
— how empty arc they ! Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be 
required of thee, and then whose shall those things be which thou 
hast provided ? Your sons succeed you and forget you ; you will 

VOL. I. L 


leave all your goods to ungrateful heirs, for whom you toiled and 
laboured and gave your body to death and your soul to hell. Even 
if they be grateful, they will have no power to set you free from hell. 

6. Have pity on your soul : on that one precious soul which God 
gave you to take care of and save, bestow some thought. Call 
away your mind from wedlock, from your wife, from your children ; 
your thoughts from your family, from the cares and business 
attending on a wife, all which things distract you, drown you, and 
swallow you up in the earth and earthly things. 

7. Why do you not embrace that single life that I advise? It 
will give you leisure for thought how you may please God, not 
how you may please the world ; how you may get yourself ready 
for your journey to heaven ; how you may compose your ideas as 
befits the judgment that is to come ; how you may stand before 
God. It will enable you to serve the Lord without hindrance 
freely, to worship Him constantly, so as by perseverance in prayer, 
fasting, and almsgiving to merit in heaven to shine in glory, to 
stand close by God, and most blissfully to enjoy Him throughout 
eternity — where with S. Agnes (S. Ambrose, Serm. 90) you may 
ever sing, "I am united in heaven to Him whom on earth I 
loved with all the power of my mind;" and, "The kingdoms of 
the world and all the glory of them I despised, because of the 
love of my Lord Jesus Christ, on whom I believed, whom I loved, 
and for whom I longed." 

jMaldonatus {in Notis Manusc.) says : " Because of the present 
distress, the approaching end of the world, let us not involve 
ourselves in earthly business such as matrimony, that so we may 
prepare ourselves for that end." 

From what has been said, the argument of Jovinian and Calvin 
falls to the ground. They say that the Apostle opposes the present 
to the future ; therefore, if the single life is a good merely because 
of the present distress, it is not so because of the future reward. 
I answer that the antecedent is false ; for the present distress is 
that which urges us to seek to prepare ourselves in this short 
life, by a single life, for our eternal reward. ^Moreover, S. Jerome 


{contra Jovin. lib. i.) says: "The Apostle joins together the present 
and the future, that no one may suppose that virgins are indeed 
happier so far as concerns spiritual things, but not as concerns 
material, when they are better off in both than those that are 
married — better off in time, better off in eternity." S. Augustine 
says the same, and refutes at length this argument of Calvin's 
{de Sancta Virgin, lib. vi. c. 22), as does the Apostle here in vers. 
■^l and 35, as I will prove there at greater length. 

That it is good for a man so to be. This is merely a repetition 
of the first clause of this verse for the sake of emphasis. It is good 
for a man to remain unmarried. 

Ver. 28. — If a virgifi marry she hath not sinned. A virgin here 
of course is one that is capable of matrimony — free, and unwedded, 
and not dedicated to God. If such marry she does not sin. Cf 
notes to ver. 2. So Theodoret, Theophylact, Photius, and Jerome. 

Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh. By letting loose 
on themselves a host of ills through the bond of wedlock, says S. 
Basil {de Sancta Virgin.). It is the cares of marriage, of children, 
and of household matters that the Apostle means when he speaks 
of trouble in the flesh. Cf. S. Augustine {de Sancta Virgin, c. 16), 
S. Ambrose {de Vi?-g. lib. i.), and S. Jerome {contra Jovin.). (i.) 
Trouble in the flesh, therefore, is that which has to do with the 
flesh and fleshly things, and which troubles the flesh. It is opposed 
to that pleasure of the flesh which is found in matrimony. This 
pleasure is so counterbalanced by this "trouble" that it is scarcely 
felt. For the pleasure derived from the conjugal act is very 
base and brutish, and makes a man, as Alexander the Great used 
to say, epileptic ; it carries with it great shame, and is gone in a 
moment, and is followed by numerous inconveniences. For from 
the moment of its conception it is accompanied by loathing, sleep- 
lessness, giddiness, melancholy, palpitation of the heart, foolish 
longings, and a thorough disturbance of the bodily economy. The 
grievous pains of child-bearing follow, which often end in death. 
(2.) When children are born they need to be constantly washed, 
fed, enswathed, clothed, put to bed, rocked to sleep, taken out 


fcr fresh air, and kept healthy, and sung to sleep to prevent them 
from crying ; and so mothers have to be occupied day and night 
about their children, and can think of nothing else. (3.) The 
more children, the greater the number of anxieties. How great 
is the grief if he happen to die, or be led by bad society into 
crime and disgrace, or if he show himself rebellious to his parents; 
if he waste his father's goods by gambling and drinking, if he make 
a reckless marriage ! For even if the parents be most holy, yet it 
often happens that the children are wicked, and so torture their 
parents most grievously. We have examples in Adam and Cain, 
Noah and Ham, Abraham and Ishmael, Isaac and Esau, Jacob 
and Reuben with nearly all his brothers, David and Amnon and 
Absalom, and many others. 

It was because of these burdens attending on marriage that 
S. Augustine, following S. Ambrose, would never advise any one 
to marry. Possidonius, in his life of him (c. xxvii.), says that he 
recommended these three things to be observed by a man of 
God : {a) never to ask for any one a wife, (^) not to support 
any one who thought of entering the army, (<:) and in his country 
not to go to a banquet when invited. The reasons he gave were 
(c?) that if the married couple were to quarrel they would blame 
him by whom they were united ; (/') that if the soldier behaved 
himself so as to be unsuccessful, he would lay the blame on his 
adviser ; (c) that if he frequently attended banquets, he might lose 
the measure of temperance that was fitting. 

JBu^ I spare you. Since you prefer the state of trouble, viz., 
matrimony, I permit it. So Ambrose. 

Ver. 29. — Btit this I say, brethren, the tifiie is short. The 
duration of this life is short, so that we may not think of merely 
enjoying our wives and the things of this present life, but, as 
strangers and sojourners, use them for a short time, in order to 
travel better towards that glorious City into which we shall be 
enrolled as everlasting citizens. Ambrose takes the time here 
in a wider sense, as denoting the duration of the world. Time 
is short, and the day of judgment is at hand : do not, therefore. 


spend your time on the temporal pleasures of the world, but 
prepare yourselves for judgment. 

// remaineth that both they that have wives be as though they 
had ?jone. That they do not greatly devote themselves to the 
things of marriage so as to give their spirit, their mind, and their 
love more to their wives than to the Lord. So Ambrose and 
Anselm ; S. Augustine (de S&rm. Do?n. m Mont. lib. i. c. xiv.), 
that they should by mutual consent live in chastity, if possible. 

Ver. 30. — And they that buy as though they possessed not. Let 
them not regard themselves as possessors for ever, but only as 
tenants for life. For Paul is forbidding that inordinate love of 
things which makes them possess us rather than we them. We 
are not to fix our heart on transitory things, nor with inordinate 
affection cling to any creature that so soon passeth away. S. 
Anselm, S. Augustine [jn Joan. Tract. 40), in giving to a rich man 
a rule for the due use of money, says beautifully : " Use money 
as a traveller in an inn uses a table, or a cup, or a ewer — as one 
soon to depart, not to abide for ever." 

That God might effectually teach the Jews this lesson. He 
appointed every fiftieth year to be a year of Jubilee, when all 
lands that had been sold should return without payment to their 
first owner. Cf. Lev. xxv. 23. He said to them in effect : I, 
the ]\Iost High, have true and real dominion over your land ; 
and therefore it belongs to Me to lay down what conditions of 
sale that I please, especially since I have put you into possession 
as settlers and colonists, and wish you to always remain such. 
Wherefore I will and decree that all possessions whatsoever return 
in the year of Jubilee to tlieir first owners, and that for this 
reason, that you may know, says Philo {de Cheruhini), that God 
alone is the true Lord and possessor of all things, and that men 
have but usufruct of them, not dominion. " Hence" says Philo, 
"zV is clca?- that tve use the goods of afiothei- ; that zvc possess in 
the way of right and dominion neither glory, nor riches, nor power, 
nor anything zvhatever, eveji if it be some power of the body or faculty 
of the mind : we merely have the usufruct of them while we live." 


Ver. 31. — A fid they that use this world as not abusing it. By 
not giving themselves to it overmuch. The Latin version translates 
the compound word as if it were a simple one — as not using it; 
but the meaning is the same. Not to use it is to abuse it by 
holding too tightly to it; for we must use things according to what 
they are. A world that is fleeting must therefore be used loosely, 
and by the way as it were, which is as though it were not used. 
But if you cling to the world you abuse it, for you use a thing 
that is ever changing, as though it were firm, fixed, and solid. 
For abuse, as Theophylact says, is use that is immoderate — ex- 
ceeding the measure and nature of the thing. Hence the Syriac 
renders this passage, "Let not those that use this world use it 
beyond its proper measure." Abuse is found in i Cor. ix. 18 in 
the sense of "use to the full." Wherefore S. Basil (^Reg. Brev. 
Interrog. 70) says : " The Apostle condemns abuse in the words, 
' use the world as not abusing it.^ The very need that we have of 
things that are for use is the measure of their use. He who goes be- 
yond what necessity enjoins is a victim, either to covetousness, or lust, 
or vain glory." 

S. Leo {Serm. 5 dc Jej. Sept. Mefisis) says excellently : " In the love 
of God is no excess ; iti the love of the tvorld everything is harmful. 
And therefore should we hold fast to the things that are eternal, use 
the things of tif?ie ifi passing, as being pilgrifns hastenitig along the 
road zvhich takes us back to our countr}', and regardi?ig whatever 
good things the world has given us as rather sustenance on the road 
than inducements to remain. Therefore is it that the Apostle says : 
' The tijne is short, it reinaineth that they that have wives be as 
though they had them not, &~'c. ; '•for the fashion of this it'orld is 
passing away.' But it is not easy to turn aside from the blandish- 
ments of forfn, of abundance, of novelty, unless ifi the beauty of 
visible things we love the Creator and not the creature.^' Again 
(Serm. xi. de Quadrag.), after quoting these words of the Apostle, 
he adds : " Happy is the mati who, in pure self-control, passes the 
time of his pilgrifnage here, and does not rest contentedly in those 
things amongst which he must walk ; who is a guest rather than 


a master in his earthly home ; who does not depend on human affec- 
tions, nor lose sight of the Divine protnises." 

For the fashion of this 7vorld passeth away. The Greek verb 
may be also translated "is deceitful" or "acts falsely." For, as S. 
Augustine says i^Ep. xxxix. ad Licetttiiwi) : " The chains of this 
world gall ivhile they seem to please, bring certain pain and uncertain 
pleasure, painful fear and fearful rest ; a reality full of 7nisery, and 
an etnpty hope of happiness. Will you of yoiir own accord bifid your 
hands and feet ivith these 1 " And again (Serm. xxiii. de Verb. Apostol) 
he says : " Temporal things never cease to enflame us with expectation 
of their coming, to corrupt us ivJicn they do come, and to torture us 
when they have gone by. When longed for they enkindle, when 
obtained they lose their value, when lost they vanish a'way." And 
S. Bernard says : " Do not love the things of this zvorld, for they 
burden us wJien we have them, defile us ivhen tve love them, and 
torture us when we lose them.'''' 

Again, S. Gregory {lib. vi. Ep. ad Andream) says : " Our life is as 
the journey of a sailor : for the sailor stands, sits, lies down, and is 
borne along whither the ship carries him. So is it with us : whether 
tvaking or sleeping, whether silent or speaking, or lualking, or zvilling 
or not willing, through the moments of time %ve are hastening daily 
to our end. JFhen, then, the day of our end comes, what good will all 
that do us that we have so eagerly sought after, and so anxiously got 
together? It is not hofiour fior riches that we should seek after: 
all these things must be left behind. But if we want to find -what 
is good, let us love those things which zve shall have for ever ; if we 
fear what is evil, let us fear those sufferings which the lost suffer 
eternally.''^ Then, shortly after, he advises Andrew for the short 
span of our life and pilgrimage here, " to give himself to sacred 
reading, to meditate on heavenly words, to kindle himself with love 
of eternity, to do all good works in his poiver tvith his earthly things, 
and to hope for aft everlasting kingdom as a reward for them. So 
to live is to have a part already in the life of eternity.''^ S. Jerome 
says, in his life of S. Hilarion, that " he was wont to remind every 
one that the fashion of this world is passing away, and that that 


is the true life which is purchased by the sufferings of this pre- 
sent life." 

Fashion. The nature, appearance, and fugitive state of the world, 
as Ambrose and Anselm say. The Apostle does not attribute y»/';/z 
to the world, which is something more firm and constant, but 
fashmt, which is ever changeful, fugitive, and ready to vanish away. 
Cf. note to Rom. xii. 2. "Z*^ not" says Anselm, ^^give the world 
a constant love ; for the object of your love is inconstatit. In vain 
do you firmly fx your heart on it : it flies while you love." If the world 
it fugitive, so then is marriage and everything else contained in 
the world. 

The day flies by ; none knows the morrow's fount, whether toil 
or rest it brings : so the world's glory fades. So too Lipsius, our 
brother, a man as wise as lifted up above man and human things, 
was wont with great discernment to say, when we talked together, 
as we often did freely, of the vanity of knowledge and all human 
things, that he had long thought of what he would have inscribed 
on his tomb. It was this : " Do you wish me to speak to you still 
more loudly? All human things are smoke, shadow, vanity, stage- 
play, and in one word — nothing." 

For all the world's a play in which this life's story is given. Men 
are the players ; they have their exits and their entrances ; and the 
place of the theatre is the earth. " One generation passeth away 
and another generation cometh, but the earth abideth for ever," 
says Ecclesiastes i. 4. On the stage are two doors — that of birth for 
those coming on, that of death for those going off. Each receives 
the dress fitted to his part. He who personates a king will not take 
away with him the purple which he wore. Soon the comedy comes 
to an end. Seneca says that the same hour which gave us life began 
to end it. We often hear it said: "Tell me, O farm, O house, 
O prebend, O money, how many lords thou hast had, and how 
many yet await thee. Tell me where is Solomon and his wisdom, 
Samson and his strength, Absalom and his beauty, Cicero and 
his eloquence, Aristotle and his subtle intellect. Where are the 
illustrious princes, the things of old, the favour of governors, 


the strong limbs, the power of the princes of the world ? " They 
are food for worms ; they have returned to the dust. Tran- 
sient as the morning dew, they have fled away. What seek you ? 
What are you so eager for. Happy the man who was able to 
despise the world ! 

Gregory of Nazianzen enumerates in detail and describes most 
beautifully and tersely the empty and fugitive nature of everything 
in this world {dc Vita Itineribus). He says : " Who am I, and 
whence came I into tin's life ? and who shall I be, after that having 
been nursed for a short time in the hip of earth, 1 return from the 
dust to life? Where in His miiverse will God place me? Many are 
the sorrows that await the traveller on life's road, and there is no 
good amongst men unalloyed with evil. And would that evils did 
not claim for themselves the greater part I Wealth is beset by snares, 
and the pride of high office and of thrones is tJie mere dream of a 
sleeper. To be sitbject to another's power is grievous and burdensome. 
Poverty drags dozvn ; beauty is as short lived as the lightning of 
summer; youth is nothing more than a temporary gloiv ; old age 
is the gloomy sunset of life. Words take wings, glory is but breath, 
nobility old blood, strength is shared with the wild-boar, satiety is 
disgusting, matrimony a bond, a large family is the mother of ittevit- 
able anxiety, to be bereaved is as a disease, the 7na7'ket is the seed-plot 
of vices, rest is feebleness, arts are practised by worthless meji, the 
bread of another is scanty, agriculture is toilsome, the greater number 
of sailors go to the bottojn, 07ics Jiative land is a prison, and the region 
beyond it a scorn." Then he comprehends them all in one view, 
and holds up to our gaze the vanity of all things in many apt 
similitudes, saying : " All things, in short, are full of so)-row for 
mortals, all human things are fearful attd yet ridiculous — like to 
thistle-down, to a shadow, to dew, to the idle wind, the flight of a 
bird, to a vapour, a dream, a wave, a ship, a foot-p7-int, a breath ; 
to dust, to a tvo?-ld perpetually changing all things as it revolves — 
now stable, now rotating, nozv falling, noiv fixed by seasofts, days, 
nights, labours, death, sorrows, pleasures, diseases, calamities, pro- 
sperity. Not ivithout great ivisdom is it, O Christ, that you have so 


appointed that ail the things of this life are ujicertain and unstable. 
Doubtless it was that we might learn to glow ivith love and desire of 
something frm and settled, that we might tear away the mind from 
thoughts of the folly of the flesh, and might preserve pure and intact 
that image given us from above ; might lead a life apart from this 
life, and, in short, by changi7tg this world for another, bear ivith 
fortitude all the difficulties and trials of this life.'" 

S. Augustine too remarks appositely {Enarr. Ps. ex.) on the words, 
" He shall drink of the brook on the way," that, " a brook is the 
current of man's mortality. As a brook is swollen by the rains, 
overflows, roars as it goes, hurries along, and as it hurries hastens 
to its end, so is the zvhole current of mortality. Men are born, they 
live, they die ; and while they die others are born. What stands still 
here ? what is there that does not hasten onwards ? what is there that 
is not as it were collected from the rain, and on its way to the sea, 
unto the deep ? " 

The fashion of this world implies that it is dressed and masked 
as an actor. Just as if a man were to sell you a horse and its 
trappings, you would take off its covering and examine the body 
and limbs of the horse before buying — even so do here. The 
world offers you for sale dressed-up honours, masked pleasures, 
decorated riches. Remove the decorations, take off the masks, 
look what lurks behind them : you will see that all is foreign, 
slender, empty. 

The Wise INIan pathetically describes (v. 8) the complaint of the 
ungodly, and the late remorse that follows on the love of vanity ; 
and he compares it to a slight shadow, a messenger hastening by, 
a ship cutting the sea, the flight of a bird, an arrow shot forth — to 
thistle-down, foam, smoke, wind, and to an inn where one spends a 
night. S. Jerome explains these images at length in his letter to 
Cyprianus, in which, commenting on Ps. xc. 4, he says : " Com- 
pared to eternity the length of all time is short." Then, at ver. C, 
he says : ''As in the mornitig the grass flourishes, and delights tvith 
its verdure the eyes of all that see if, and then gradually withers and 
loses its beauty, and is turned into hay to be trodden imder foot, 


even so docs the wJiok race of men shoiv the freshness of sfring in 
childhood, blossom in youth, and flourish in jnanhood ; but suddenly, 
when he knows not, the head turns white, the face wrinkles, the skin 
cotitracts, and at last, in the evening of old age, he caji scarcely move. 
He is hardly recognised for what he used to be, and seems almost 
changed into another man ; and, lastly, as Symmachus turns Ps. 
xc. lo, tve are suddenly cut dow?i and fly away." 

Ver. 32. — But I would have you without carefulness, and there- 
fore living in virginity and celibacy. 

^"er. T,T,. — But he that is ?narried careth . . . how he may 
please his wife. "A woman," says Plautus, "and a ship are never 
ornamented enough : he therefore that wants worlc had better 
marry a wife and fit out a ship." 

Yer. 34.^ — There is differeftce also between a wife and a virgin. 
The Latin takes the first half of this clause with the preceding, 
and refers it to the husband. He tliat is married careth how he 
may please his wife and is divided. He is distracted by many 
anxieties, so that he cannot give himself to one Lord ; but God 
claims a part, and his wife and children claim a part, and that the 
greater. So Ambrose takes it. 

But the Greeks — Chrysostom, OLcumenius, Theophylact, Basil, 
and Ephrem — join them as above. The meaning, then, is that the 
pursuits of a wife and a virgin are different. As Chrysostom says, 
what separates a wife from a virgin is leisure and business : the 
virgin has leisure, the wife has business. But S. Jerome {contra 
Jovin. lib. i.) asserts that this reading is not the true one. The 
Greeks still support the latter reading, the Latins the former. 

TJie unmarried tvoman careth for the thi?!gs of the Lord, that 
she may be holy both in body and in spirit. "Holy" is jjure and 
unstained. " A virgin," says Q^cumenius, '■• is holy in body, because 
of her chastity ; she is holy in spirit, becatise of the close converse she 
holds with God, and because of the indwelling of the Spirit." 

Observe this plain testimony to evangelical counsel, and especially 
to that of virginity. Paul, in this chapter, frequently commends and 
counsels it (vers. 7, 8, 25, 26^ 34, 35, 40). Hence Peter ^.Cartyr 


and Beza admit here that the maintenance of virginity is better 
than matrimony, as Luther thought, not only as a safeguard against 
temporal cares and troubles, but that it excels it also, as being 
better adapted for the service of God. Still they add that virginity 
by itself is not an act of worship to God, and at all events not 
greater or better than marriage. 

But it is certain that virginity in this state is in itself an illustrious 
virtue, one by which God is honoured and worshipped, far better 
and more excellent than matrimony, meriting a far greater reward, 
and having its peculiar crown of glory in heaven. I say " in this 
state," for in the state of innocence virginity would not have been 
a virtue, nay, it would not have existed any more than concupiscence 

What has been said is proved, i. by the Apostle laying down 
here that virginity is holiness of body and of spirit, and that by it 
we please God. For the sense of the verse is: "As a married 
woman thinks how she may preserve her beauty and adorn herself, 
that she may please her husband, so a virgin thinks how she may 
preserve chastity and purity, that she may be holy in body and 
mind, that so she may please God." So Anselm, Theophylact, 
CEcumenius, Chrysostom, and many others. She thinks, too, how 
she may adorn and increase this chastity with prayers and other 
virtues, that she may be still more pleasing to God, as Ambrose 
suggests. Trierefore, through virginal chastity a virgin is pleasing to 
God, and therefore chastity itself is holiness. So the Apostle calls 
it here. If virginity is holiness, it is surely worship done to God. 

2. In the following verses the Apostle speaks of celibacy as 
being honourable, that is, more so than marriage; therefore celi 
bacy is a virtue ; for the proper object of virtue is the good that is 

3. Virginity by itself is a branch of temperance, and is an heroic 
exhibition of it, springing from the most perfect chastity, fortitude, 
and resolution, and is a perfect bridling of lust. It is often also 
enjoined by charity, religion, or a vow. Hence I argue thus : As 
concupiscence, and especially that of impurity, is an evil in itself^ 


so to bridle it is good and pleasing to God, and to bridle it more 
completely is a greater good and more pleasing to God. But 
virginity does bridle it more, nay, it wholly bridles concupiscence, 
whereas marriage gives it play ; therefore virginity is a greater good, 
and more pleasing to God, and better than matrimony. This the 
Apostle teaches us expressly in ver. 38, where he says : " He that 
giveth his virgin in marriage doeth well, but he that giveth her not 
doeth better." Hence Fulgentius (c. iv. Ep. 3) says: '''■So much is 
virginity a virtue, that a virgin derives her ?iat}ie from virtue.'^ S. 
Jerome {contra Jovin. lib. i.) says : " Virginity is a sacrifice to Christ." 

In short, this is expressly taught against Jovinian, Calvin, and 
such men, by Ambrose, Augustine, Chrysostom, Athanasius, and 
Basil, in works written for the very purpose of proving this truth 
about virginity, and by S. Thomas (ii. ii. qu. 152), and by all 
Scholastic and Catholic doctors. 

S, Aldhelm, Bishop of the West Saxons about a.d. 680, says 
excellently {Bibl. SS. Fatru/ii, vol. iii. c. ix. de Laud. Virgin.) : "Since 
there are three states in the Church — virginity, widowhood, and marriage 
- — we have l/een taught by revelation fro7n heaven, if the scale of merits 
is taken into account, that the diffo'ence fixed between them is of this 
kind : virginity is as gold, ividowhood as silver, marriage as brass. 
Virginity is wealth, ividowhood sufficiency, marriage poverty ; virgi?iity 
is peace, widowhood release, marriage captivity ; virgiftity is a sun, 
widowhood a lamp, marriage darkness ; virginity is a queen, widoiu- 
hood a lord, marriage a handmaid." 

Tertullian also says {Lib. de I^udicitia) : " Chastity is the flower of 
character, the bodfs honour, the adornment of the sexes, the foundatioji 
of holiness, and every good mind i?istinctively leans towards it. Although 
it is seldom found, and scarcely ever is life-long, yet zvill it abide for 
a space in the world, if discipline lend its aid, and correction keep it in 
its boimds." 

S. jNIartin once, on seeing a meadow, one part of which the oxen 
had fed on, another part rooted up by the pigs, and a third part 
uninjured and variegated by different kinds of flowers, said : " The 
first part remi?ids us of marriage : it has been eaten down by cattle, 


but has not wholly lost the beauty of the herbage, though it retains nofie 
of the brightness that flowers give. The secofid part, which the uttdeaii 
tribe of swine has rooted up, gives us a foiil picture offornicatioti. The 
third, which has felt no injury, shows the glory of virginity : it is 
covered with luxuriant herbage, in it is an abundant crop of grass, it 
is adorned with floivers of all kinds, and shines as though adorned with 
radiant Jewels." So Sulpitius writes {Dial. 2, c. 11). 

From all this we may gather eight prerogatives of virginity and the 
widowed life. i. It is an imitation of the life and integrity of the 
angels; for the angels do not marry, but are wholly engaged on 
the service of God. Virgins do the same. Listen to S. Athanasius 
{de Virginitate) : "O virginity, unfailing wealth, crown that fadeth 
not away, temple of God, abode of the Holy Spirit, pearl most 
precious, conqueror of death and hell, life of angels, crown of the 
Saints," &c. And S. Chrysostom {de Virginitate, c. xi.) : " Virginity 
far excels wedlock as heaven is above earth, as angels are higher 
than men." And S. Augustine {de Sancia Virgin, c. xiii.) : " Virginal 
as i?itegrity is the portion of angels, and is a striving after life-long 
incorruption in a corruptible body." Again, it is the distinguishing 
mark of that new race of angels planted by Christ on the earth, 
as S. Jerome says {Ep. 22 ad Eustoch.): "As soon as the Son 
of God came down to earth, He founded for Himself a new family, 
in order that He ivho ivas worshipped by angels in heaven anight 
have angels on earth." Cf. S. Fulgentius {Ep. 3 ad Probam, c. 9). 

2. Virginity is a whole burnt-offering, as S. Jerome says, when 
commenting on Ps. xcvi; for it devotes and consecrates to God 
and Divine things the body, and with it the mind. Hence S. 
Ignatius, in his Epistle to Tarsus, calls virgins "Christ's priests." 
" Vahce highly" he says, " them that are living in virginity, as Christ's 
priests." Hence S. Ambrose, in his comment on Ps. cxix. 5, calls 
virgins "martyrs," because they often have a severer struggle than 
martyrs, and slay for God's sake their affections and the vital lusts 

of the soul." 

3. A virgin enters into a spiritual marriage with Christ, as I 

will explain at 2 Cor. xi. 2. The offspring of this marriage is not 


bodily but spiritual, viz., (a) virtuous works; {/>) alms and other 
offices of charity ; (r) holy examples, by which they bring more souls 
to serve Christ, and so bear them to Christ. So S. Cecilia not only 
converted her husband Valerian and her brother Tiburtius and 
others, but also made them martyrs and virgins. Hence the Church 
says of her : " O Lord Jesus Christ, Sower of holy counsel, accept 
the fruits of the seeds which Thou didst sow in Cecilia," and, 
"Thy hand-maiden Cecilia, like a bee loaded with honey, served 
Thee with store of good works." 

4. Virgins are more loved by Christ than others ; for Christ 
as a Bridegroom loves virgins as His brides, as S. Ambrose says 
(de Vifgi/i. lib. i.). Again, He loves them as His soldiers. Hence 
Ambrose says again : " This is that celestial warfare which the 
army of angels, praisifig God, carried on on earth." On these 
soldiers see Chrysostom {^Honi. 71 on S. Matthezt'). 

5. Virgins are the noblest part of the Church. Listen to S. 
Cyprian {de Discipl. et Habitu Virgin?) : " Noiv I speak to the virgins, 
whose glory is the higher as their pia-pose is better. They are the 
fiozver of the ChurcJis plant, the adornment of spiritual grace, a 
tvine that gladdens, a conplete and iincorrnpted work of praise 
and honour, the image of God anszveri/ig to the holiness of the Lord, 
the more illustrious portion of the flock of Christ.''^ And S. Jerome 
{contra fovin. lib. ii.) says : " The Church's necklace is adorned 
ivith virgins as its fairest feivelsP And Ecclus. xxvi. 15, says: "A 
shamefaced and faithful woman is a double grace," i.e., in marriage 
(for he is speaking of that) ; and therefore it is much more true of 
continencv in the single life. 

Hence S. Athanasius {de Virgin.) lays down that virginity is a 
mark of true religion and of the Church. For virginity is advised, 
embraced, and extolled by true religion : by infidelity and heresy it 
is spoken against, rejected, and slighted. And 8. Ambrose {de 
Viduis) says : " They zuho regard with veneration the adulteries and 
lasciviousness of their gods, punish celibacy and widcivhood : bei?tg 
themselves ardent for wickedness, they would fain chastise those tvho 
are zealous for virtue." 


Wherefore heretics and infidels are not and cannot be virgins ; 
for without the grace of God, the beginning of which is faith, it is 
impossible, amongst so many allurements and temptations of the 
flesh, to preserve chastity inviolate. Hence S. Athanasius {Apolog. 
ad Cofistafit. Imp.) says : ^^ Nowhere else save among Christians is that 
holy a?id heavenly precept of life-lotig virginity happily fulfilled." 

6. S. Cyprian says that " marriage replenishes the earth, continency 
heaven;" therefore, as S. Basil says, "virgins anticipate the glory 
of the resurrection ; " for in this life, as in the next, they neither 
marry nor are given in marriage. 

7. Virgins have in heaven a more excellent reward and crown : 
they follow the Lamb wherever He goes, singing a new song which 
no one else can sing (Rev, xiv. 3, 4). 

8. Virginity makes man like the Blessed Trinity. And all this 
is as true of virgins that live in their own home as of those that live 
in a monastery ; for in the time of S. Paul and Ignatius there were 
no monasteries. In counselling and praising virginity, therefore, they 
mean that which is maintained at home. So Philip the deacon had 
at his house four daughters that were virgins (Acts xxi. 9), who were 
also gifted with the spirit of prophecy, and that as a reward of their 
virginity, as S. Jerome says {ad Demet.). Philip the Apostle had 
before his call three daughters, of whom two grew old in virginity, 
as Polycrates says in S. Jerome {de Script. Eccles.). S. Thecla, by 
the exhortation of S. Paul, embraced virginity {S. Ambrose de Virgifi. 
lib. ii.). S. Iphigenia, a king's daughter, was induced by S. Matthew 
to do the same ("Abdias," Life). So too did S. Flavia Domitilla, 
daughter of Clement, a Roman consul, when urged by S. Clement 
{Beda. Martyrol. 7 May.); and S. Pudentiana and Praxedes, 
daughters of Pudens, a senator, and very many others. So many 
were there that S. Ambrose says {de Virgin, lib. iii.): ^' In the 
Eastern Church and in Africa there are more virgins consecrated 
than there are births in Milan and all Italy. And yet the race of 
men is not thereby diminished, but increased." The reason of this is, 
that God is unwilling to be surpassed in generosity. If parents offer 
one or two of their offspring, He gives eight or ten in their place, 

vows 1/7 

giving fruitfulness and favourable labour, and filling the house with 
His blessing. So did He give to Hannah five children in the place 
of the one she offered to Him. So to the rich who give alms does 
God give greater wealth, and greater fertility to their fields, as S. 
Augustine says (Serm. 2ig de Tcmpor.). 

Ver. 35. — And I speak this for your oivn profit. I counsel you to 
remain single for your greater perfection and growth in spirit and 
in virtue. 

Not that I may cast a snare upon you. Not that I wish to lay 
a necessity of continency upon you, or to force you to it. So 
CEcumenius, Theophylact, Chrysostom. For this precept would 
be a snare to those who find a difficulty in containing themselves, 
because it would deprive them of the remedy against incontinence, 
viz., marriage, and would drive them into the sin of fornication. It 
is evident from what follows that a snare, i.e., a precept, is contrasted 
with a counsel, for he goes on to say, but for that which is comely. 
In other words, he says what he does about the advantage of virgi- 
nity, not by way of precept but of counsel, exhorting them to the 
more comely and better condition to be found in the single life. 
So Theodoret, Theophylact, Anselm, CEcumenius. 

Peter Martyr and Bucer, therefore, are wrong in supposing that 

this stiare is the constraint of a vow ; for such a vow is not imposed 

by the Apostle or any one else, but is self-imposed, as each one 

of his own free will takes a vow of chastity. He who takes a vow 

of his own accord, no more casts a snare round himself than one who 

of his own accord binds himself in marriage to one who is often 

quarrelsome and hard to live with. Moreover, vows are not taken 

except after some trial, and not without previous mature deliberation 

and counsel. In monasteries, e.g., a year of probation is given to 

novices, that they may test their strength and weigh well the cost. 

But if married people had such a year in which to try each other 

before marriage, I fancy that many would alter their minds ; and yet 

when once they are married they are compelled to live with one 

that is often unknown, untried, and disliked. Why, then, should 

those who have made a solemn promise to God, and have professed 
VOL. I. M 


chastity, after first trying their strength and their duty, be compelled 
to break their vows, which of their own accord they made to the 
Lord their God? 

It is far more true to say that this dogma of Bucer and the 
Protestants is a snare. They say that chastity is impossible, and 
consequently that it is lawful to marry after taking the vows. For 
by this snare the souls of many religious, and of many married 
people are destroyed, so that adultery, uncleanness, and damnation 
follow. For, by persuading themselves that virginal or conjugal 
chastity is impossible, they are necessarily driven by this fond opinion 
into adultery and sacrilege. 

That ye viay atte?id Jipon the Lord ivithout distraction, i. The 
single life affords abundant facilities for prayer and meditation 
and worship. So the Magdalene, sitting at the feet of Jesus, heard 
His words (S. Luke x. 39). 

2. S. Jerome {co?itra Jovin.) renders it not as the Latin, that 
ye may have facilities for worshipping the Lord without hindratice, 
but as above. The Greek ivTrdpeSpov has two meanings : (a) That 
constant attendance on any one ; {i>) assiduity in any work. As 
therefore, Socrates is said to have had his attendant genius, by 
whose counsel and advice he was ruled in all that he did ; and as 
magi in their rings, and heresiarchs in the fabrication of their 
heresy (Lp-en. lib. i. c. 9 and 20) have attendant demons close at 
hand to prompt them, so here, vice versa, the chaste are called 
attendants upon the Lord, i.e., His intimates and assessors, as it 
were, like some terrestrial angels who always behold through their 
chastity the face of their Father. Hence it is that the Fathers so 
commonly compare the chaste to angels. S. Bernard, Ep. 42, says : 
" The chaste maft and the angel differ in felicity, not in virtue : the 
angels chastity is more blest, the mart's more strong." Climacus 
{Gradu. 15) and Basil {de Sancta Virgin.) say that by chastity 
we become like God, and have a kind of celestial and Divine 
incorruption. Nay, the heathen Cato used to say that our 
life would be like the life of the gods if we could do without a 
wife, and that so a wife was a necessary evil. In this Cato erred ; 


for ?. Paul tells us that, through the grace of Christ, it is not 
necessary, but that both marriage and celibacy are free to every 
one. Hence Sir Thomas More, on being asked why he had 
married so tiny a wife, replied merrily, that out of evils he had 
freely and wisely chosen the least. The Wise Man says most truly 
(vi. 20) : " It is chastity that makes us likest God ; " for, as Gregory of 
Nazianzen says {Carmen de Virgin.), the Blessed Trinity is the 
Virgin that all virgins imitate. He says: "The primal Triad is 
a virgin ; for the Son is born of a Father that has no beginning, 
for He derived His Being from none ; " and, as Ambrose {de Virgin. 
lib. i.) says : " Virginity has descended from heave fi to be imitated on 
earth. Tra?iscending clouds, the air, and the ange/s, it has found the 
Word of God in the very bosom of the Father. Eiias, because he was 
fomid to be free from all lusts of sexual delight, was taken up in a 
chariot to heaven." And it was for this reason that virgins were 
seen by S. John, not on the mount but above it, in Rev. xiv., singing 
a new song before the throne of God, and following the Lamb 
wherever He goes. S. Jerome goes so far as to say that celibate 
and celestial are conjugate terms. Quinctilian says that Gaius 
the Jurisconsult held that celibates were "coelites," or heavenly, 
because of their freedom from the burdens of marriage. By con- 
tinency we are brought back to that unity from which we slipped 
away on all sides. This was well understood and shown by the 
four heroic sisters of the queen of the Emperor Theodosius, the 
most illustrious of whom was Pulcheria, who made a vow of chastity 
to God, and to whom Cyril wrote his book de Fide ad Reginas, of 
whom Nicephorus speaks (vol. i. lib. xiv. c. ii. p. 612). He adds 
that " day and night they worshipped God with hymns and praises, 
holding that idleness and ease were unbefitting the purpose zvith ivhich 
they had embraced virginity.''' 

Hence it follows that the single life is the best for acquiring 
wisdom. Aiistotle and other philosophers have laid this down, 
and Cicero showed by his actions that he thought so. For, after 
having divorced Terentia, he was asked why he did not marry 
again ; and he said that it was impossible to at once devote 


one's self to philosophy and to a wife, for he that is single and 
free from other cares can wholly devote himself to wisdom. 
Moreover, the single life tends to keep the heart pure, and ready 
to take in wisdom. It is again wonderfully enlightened by God, 
with whom it lives on terms of intimacy. For since, as the Apostle 
says here, the soul that is chaste is a close attendant upon and an 
assessor of God, it follows that it is also an assessor of the eternal 
wisdom of God : for this is an attendant and assessor of God. 
"Give me," says Solomon, "give me, O Lord, the wisdom that 
attends on Thy abodes." Hence it is that S. Jerome {contra Jovin. 
lib. i.) asserts that the Sibyls, because of their virginity, obtained 
from God the gift of prophecy. 

Wisdom and chastity, as twin-sisters, were the companions of S. 
Gregory of Nazianzen. For, as Ruffinus {in Prolog. Apolog^ records, 
and also S. Aldhelm {de Land. Virgin, c. 12), "w/ien Nazianzen was 
studyi?tg at Athens, he saw in a visioft two beautiful viaidens, sitting 
one on his right and the other on his left, as he was sitting reading. 
Looking askance at them, as purity bade, he asked who they were a?td 
what they wished ; but they, with more freedom than he, embraced him 
atid said, ' Do not be ang?y with us, young man, for ive are well 
known to you : one of us is called Wisdom, the other Chastity ; and we 
are se?it by God to dwell with you, because you have prepared for us a 
pleasant and pure dwelling in your heart. We are your twin-sisters. 
Wisdom and Chastity. ' " 

It follows, in the second place, that God and His angels have 
such familiar communion with virgins, and give them such protec- 
tion, that they attend upon them, and often preserve them safely from 
the cruelty of tyrants. Of this S. Basil is a witness {de Vera Virgin.). 

There is a famous instance of this in the life of S. Theophila, who 
was condemned to prostitution under the Emperor Maxim.ian ; and, 
while being led to it, she prayed thus : " My Jesu, my love, my light 
my spirit, the guardian of my chastity and my life, look on her who 
has been betrothed to Thee ; make haste to deliver Thy lamb from 
the teeth of the wolf; preserve, O my Bridegroom, Thy bride; 
preserve my chastity, Thou fount of chastity." Then, when she 


entered the place of prostitution, she drew from her bosom the 
Gospel and read it attentively. Soon an angel stood by her side, 
and smote with death the first youth who approached her, the 
second with blindness, and punished the others with different 
penalties, so that at last no one dared come near her. Then lust 
gave way to fear ; and when many entered the place from religious 
motives, they saw Theophila sitting unharmed, and intent on her 
book. They saw too a youth standing near her, refulgent with light 
and of ineffable beauty, sending forth, as it were, darts of lightning 
from his eyes. He at length led out Theophila to the church, 
and placed her in the porch, and left her witli " Peace be to thee," 
to the amazement of the heathen, who exclaimed, " Who is such 
a God as the God of the Christians ? " We have similar marvels 
in the life of S. Agnes, S. Cecilia, and S. Lucy, and other virgins. 
We frequently read in the lives and martyrdoms of the holy virgins 
that, when they were solicited to prostitute themselves by the 
promises or threats of evil-minded tyrants, and even publicly con- 
demned to it, yet they all preserved their virginity, by the aid of God 
and the holy angels, and even added to its merit by martyrdom. 

Ver. 36. — But if any man think that he behaveth himself tmcomely 
toward his virgin. If any one think that it is unbecoming for 
himself and his daughter to be despised by men of the world, 
says Ephrem, because she is of more than marriageable age, and 
is not yet married, though she has passed the flower of her age, i.e., 
the age when she is ripe for marriage, a7id fieed so require, if the 
father think that he ought to give her in marriage, either because 
she cannot contain, or because he seeks for children by her, or for 
other reasons, let him do what he zvill, let him give his daughter in 
marriage, or keep her as a virgin, if he so prefer it. 

Observe that this saying of the Apostle's does not imply that it is 
in a father's power to keep his daughter a virgin if she is unwilling, 
or to give her to a husband of his own choosing against her will ; 
nor does it imply that the consent of the daughter is insufficient 
to matrimony without that of her father or guardian, as the civil 
laws have laid down, by enacting that the marriages of sons or 


daughters are null and void without the consent of the head of 
the family. The opposite is laid down by the law natural, Divine, 
and canonical. The Apostle merely says here and in ver. 37, that 
it is prudent and fitting for parents, who see the inclination of 
their daughters or sons to marriage, to seek by their superior 
wisdom a suitable union for them, after the custom of their fore- 
fathers ; and he says that the son and daughter ought, in such 
a matter, to follow the counsel and wish of their parents, if it be 
prudent to do so, unless they can allege some sufficient excuse. 
So did Abraham, Isaac, and Tobias chose wives for their sons, 
and their wish was obeyed. 

Let the7n marry. The plural is used to embrace the virgin and 
her wooer, and to signify that the latter is doing the former a 
dishonour, as is commonly the case ; and to prevent it going 
further, he says, " Let them be joined in matrimony." So Mal- 
donatus {Notes). 

Ver. 37. — Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart . . . 
doeth well. This is linked on to the preceding, let him do what he 
will : if he give her in marriage he sinneth not, if he give her not 
he does well — ^nay, both father and daughter do better. 

Having no necessity. Not being compelled, say heretics, to give 
his daughter in marriage, through lack of the gift of continence. 
This is to say that, if for this reason he keeps her unmarried, he does 
wrong ; but he who is not under such necessity, if he keeps her 
unmarried does well. 

But this is a mistake : for the words having 710 necessity, as well 
as hath power, are to be referred to the phrase to keep his virgin. 
He does well who keeps his daughter a virgin, unless necessity 
compel him to keep her unmarried, through poverty, infamy, or 
because no one will have her, or other causes of the same kind. 
For then it is a case of necessity, not of virtue. Virtue is where 
no necessity compels, but where piety impels, as, e.g., when any 
one, by an act of free-will, chooses virginity. So Chrysostom, 
Theophylact, CEcumenius. 

But hath poiver over his own ivill. That is when the father can 


do what he wills, through his virgin daughter consenting to remain 

a virgin. 

Observe these words of the Apostle, and learn from them that 
man has free-will, even in the moral and supernatural spheres, as, 
e.g., in the case of lifelong virginity. For the father cannot wilHt 
for the daughter unless she freely choose and embrace it. 

Secondly, we might take the words having no necessity as meaning, 
not being bound by any precept, but having the power of free-will to 
choose without sin which he will. Virginity is not a matter of 
precept but of counsel ; he, therefore, that wishes his daughter to 
remain a virgin is not compelled to it by any law ; yet he does 
well, because he fulfils the counsel of Christ and the Apostle. 

Ver. 39. — But if her husband be dead. Literally, if he be asleep. 
With the faithful, death is called a sleep ; for they awaken from 
it at the resurrection. Hence pious Christians say, when one dies, 
that he is asleep in the Lord. 

She is at liberty to be married to whom she will only in the Lord. 
The Greek Fathers understand in the Lord to mean, according to 
the law of the Lord, which bids us marry with self-restraint, and 
for the procreation of children, not to satisfy our lusts. S. Basil 
says {de Vera Virgin.): " What is it to marry in the Lord? Lt is 
not to be dragged^ as a despicable slave., to concubinage, to please the 
flesh, but to choose marriage in sound judgment, and because it will 
make life more convenient. For this reason was it that the Creator 
ordained marriage as a ticcessity in fiature.'^ 

Secondly, in the Lord means religiously, in the fear of God and 
to the Lord's glory. This will be especially the case if she marry 
an upright Christian. 

Thirdly, and most properly, in the Lord means in His church 
and religion. She may marry a Christian. So Ambrose, Theodoret, 
Theophylact, Anselm, Sedulius, S. Thomas, Augustine {de Adulter. 
Conjug. lib. i. c. 21). 

Hence the Church afterwards, because of the danger of perversion, 
and because of its unseemliness, wholly forbade a Catholic to inter- 
marry with a heretic, and disannulled the marriage of a Christian with 


a heathen. It is a mortal sin, therefore, to marry a heretic. We 
must except from this Germany, Poland, and France, where here- 
tics live mingled with Catholics. For there a woman that is a 
Catholic is freely permitted, and, without danger of perversion, can 
remain in the faith, and bring up her children in it, as is said 
by S. Thomas, Sanchez {Disp. 72, no. 3, vol. ii.). But all such mar- 
riages are to be guarded against and dissuaded, because of the 
dangers they entail. Lastly, notice against Tertullian, the Mon- 
tanists, Novatian, that second marriages are plainly sanctioned by 
this passage. 

Fourthly, marriage in the Lord is that which is, according to the 
laws and usages of the Church, handed down by the Apostles, who 
represented the Lord and wielded His authority. The usages 
instituted by the Apostles and received by the whole Church are 
especially (a) that marriage should be solemnised in the presence 
of the priest lawfully deputed for the purpose. "// is seemly" says 
S. Ignatius to Polycarp, '■'■that men and women should be united zvifh 
the approbation of the bishop, that marriages may be entered into 
according to the precept of the Lord, and not for the sake of concupiscence." 
{b) Matrimony should be solemnised with a celebration of the 
sacrifice of the Mass. {c) Those who are contracting matrimony 
should receive the Eucharist. Tertullian {ad Uxorem, lib. ii.) says : 
'■'■ Hozv can I sufficiently describe the happiness of that marriage which 
is blessed by the Church, confirmed by the oblation, and, when sealed, is 
recorded by the angels ? " 

Ver. 40. — But she is happier if she so abide. Happier here in a 
more peaceful and holy life, as well as in the greater bliss which 
awaits her in heaven. So Ambrose. Hence it appears that the 
state of widowhood is better than matrimony. It appears also 
from what has been said before and from the Fathers, cited at ver. 7. 
Cf. S. Augustine (de Bono Viduit. vol. iv.) and S. Ambrose {de 
Viduis, vol. i.). 

A?id I think also that I have the Spirit of God. The Spirit of 
counsel, according to which I think that I give good advice. So 
Anselm and others. Observe the stress laid on /. As other 


Apostles have, so have I also the Spirit of God. He modestly 
reminds them of his authority, lest he should seem to give his 
advice according to human and not Divine wisdom. S. Augustine 
again observes {in /oaii, tract 37) that / think is not an expression 
of doubt, but of asseveration and command. 


I To abstain from meats offered to idols. 8, 9 We must not abuse our Christian 
liberty, to the offe7ice of our brethren ; 1 1 but must bridle our knowledge with 

NOW as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have know- 
ledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. 

2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet 
as he ought to know. 

3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him. 

4 As concerning therefore the eating of tliose things that are offered in sacrifice 
unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none 
other God but one. 

5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as 
there be gods many, and lords many,) 

6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we 
in him ; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 

7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge : for some with con- 
science of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol ; and their 
conscience being weak is defiled. 

8 But meat commendeth us not to God : for neither, if we eat, are we the 
better ; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 

9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling- 
block to them that are weak. 

10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's 
temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat 
those things which are offered to idols ; 

1 1 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ 

12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak con- 
science, ye sin against Christ. 

13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the 
world standelh, lest I make my brother to offend. 


In this Chapter he treats of the second general question put before him by the 

Corinthians. It dealt with things offered to idols, and whether it was lawful to 

eat of them. 



i. He answers that, taken by itself, such eating was not unlawful, since an 

idol is nothing. 
ii. He next says that it is unlawful, if conscience be wounded, or if offence 

be caused to the weaker brethren. He impresses upon them that this 

last is by all means to be avoided. 

To understand the three following chapters, note that the things 
spoken of as offered to idols are flesh, bread, wine, &c. It was not 
sin simply to eat such things, as S. Thomas lays down (i. ii. qu. 103, 
art. 4, ad. 3). Still it was a sin (i.) if it was out of unbelief, as, e.g., 
if any idolater ate of such things in honour of the idol, or if it were 
done out of weakness of faith, as was frequently the case in S. Paul's 
time. For many had been but lately converted, and were only half- 
taught, and so had not wholly cast off their old ideas about idols 
and idol-offerings, and therefore still regarded them as having some- 
thing Divine about them. They regarded the food offered to idols 
as holy and consecrated, although the Christian faith taught them 
the opposite. 

2. It would be sinful if any one who thought it unlawful to eat 
of such things were to go against his conscience and eat of them, 
thinking, that is, that so doing was holding communion with the 
idols and professing idolatry. The same would be the case if he 
thought that the flesh had been polluted by the idol or devil to 
whom it had been offered, and that consequently it defiled him that 
ate of it. The Apostle said the same in Rom. xiv. 

3. It would be a sin if any one, knowing that an idol is noth- 
ing, should yet eat of things offered to idols in tiie presence of weak 
brethren, and to show his knowledge and liberty, and so provoke 
them (ver. 10) to eat of the same things against their conscience, or 
to think that he, by eating, was sinning against the faith, or return- 
ing to the worship of idols, and dragging others with him. 

4. It would be against the Apostolic precept, given in Acts xv. 
19, forbidding the eating of things offered to idols. 

5. It would be a sin if eaten in such way and under such circum- 
stances, as, e.g., in the idol-temple, when the idolatrous sacrifice is 
offered, as to cause others to think that it was done in honour of the 


idol, and in profession of idolatry, in the same way that any one 
who participates in a Calvinistic supper is looked upon as professing 
Calvinism. It is of this case that that S. Augustine speaks {de Bono 
Conjug. xvi.) when he says, " // is better to die of hicnger than to eat 
of things offered to idols." 

The Emperor Julian, in order to compel the Catholics of Con- 
stantinople to some outward compliance with idolatry, forced them 
all to eat of things offered to idols. The story is related by 
Nectarius, Bishop of Constantinople, in a sermon delivered by him 
at the beginning of Lent. He says : "ZTt? defiled all the foods that 
were exposed for sale in the public 7narkets, with sacrifices offered to 
the gods, that so all might either be compelled to eat of these sacrificial 
foods or perish of himger. The faithful inquired at the oracle of the 
martyr Theodore how they were to act at this crisis ; and they were 
bidden frojn heaven to use, instead of bread, boiled corn for food. This 
the rich generously distributed to their poorer brethren for a week, 
when the Emperor Julia?i, despairing of being able to accomplish 
his purpose, and vanquished by the continence and constancy of the 
Christians, ordered pure and undefilcd food to be again sold in the 
markets r 

I. We should observe here the expression, " vanquished by the 
continency of the Christians." Their abstinence was constant and 
spontaneous. For, though they might have eaten of the foods de- 
filed by Julian's orders, as though common foods, yet they refused 
out of abhorrence of Julian and his idols. That they might lawfully 
have eaten of them appears from the fact that Julian was unable to 
defile ordinary food by bringing it into contact with things offered 
to idols, or to make it sacred to devils, in such a way that one who 
ate of them should be regarded as an idol-worshipper. For though 
this might have been Julian's intention, yet he was but a single 
individual, and unable to alter the common judgment of men, which 
regarded this not as idolatrous but as indifferent. Hence, too, 
the citizens of Antioch, when Julian had in like manner polluted 
their food and drink, ate and drank of them freely and without 
scruple, as Theodoret tells us {Hist. lib. i. c. 14). S. Augustine, 


too i^Ep. 154), says that it is lawful to eat of vegetables grown in an 
idol's garden, and to drink from a pitcher or a well in an idol- 
temple, or into which something offered to idols has fallen. Cf 
notes to X. 21. 

2. Notice, again, that there were at Corinth some who knew and 
felt that this was the case, viz., that idols and the things offered to 
them had no meaning; and so they ate of such things to the scandal 
of those who were not so strong and not so well informed, in order 
to show their knowledge and liberty. But others, less well instructed, 
either had not quite cast off their old feelings about idols and idol- 
sacrifices, or at all events had a lingering feeling that they were 
sacred, and hence might easily relapse. This is why the Apostle, 
fearing danger for such, said, in x. 14, " Flee from idolatry." It 
led to the question being put to the Apostle by the Corinthians, 
whether it was lawful to eat of things offered to idols. 

3. The Apostle answers that question by saying {a) that an idol 
and its sacrifice is nothing ; {b) that they should abstain from things 
offered to idols where there was offence caused ; and this is the 
subject of this chapter. 

4. The Apostle here only begins his answer to the question, for 
he clears it up and fully replies in x. 20, 21. Not only does he 
not allow them, because of the scandal caused, to eat of such things ; 
but even when there is no scandal he forbids them to eat of them in 
the temples, at the altars, or tables of idols, as their wont was, and 
in the presence of those who offered them. For this would be to 
profess idolatry, and to worship the idol in the feast which consum- 
mated the sacrifice offered to it ; for this banquet was a part of the 
sacrifice and its completion. In this sense we must understand 
Rev. ii. 14 and 20, where the angel, i.e.., the Bishop of Pergamos 
and Thyatira, is rebuked for allowing his flock to eat of things 
offered to idols, as though tliey were sacred and Divine, and so 
give honour to idols. For this was the stumbling-block that King 
Balak, at the instigation of Balaam, put before the children of Israel : 
by eating of things offered to idols they were enticed into worship- 
ing Baal-Peor. (Num. xxv. 2). For the same reason it was forbidden 


by the Council of Gangra (cap. ii.) to eat of idol-sacrifices, and 
also by the Third Council of Orleans (cap. xix.). 

5. The Apostle says nothing of the apostolic precept of Acts xv., 
which forbade absolutely the eating of things offered to idols, 
because that precept was directed to the men of Antioch and its 
neighbourhood alone (ver. 23), where were very many Jews who 
abhorred idols and idol-sacrifices. These had sent with the Gentiles 
messengers to Jerusalem to the Apostles, that they might decide the 
question about the observance of the Law. To them the Apostles 
replied that the ordinances of the Law were not binding, but that, 
notwithstanding, they must abstain from the eating of things offered 
to idols, for the sake of concord between the Jews and Gentiles. 
Afterwards, however, other heathen living far distant from Antioch, 
of their own free will obeyed the command, through the reverence 
they felt for the Apostles. Cf. Baronius (a.d. 51, p. 441). 

Ver. I. — Now as touching tJmigs offered unto idols we know that we 
all have hiowledge. We all know, though some of you may think 
differently, that things offered to idols are the same as other food, 
and have no greater sanctity or power. All of us who are fairly well 
instructed in the faith of Christ know that they belong to the class 
of adiaphora. 

Knowledge piiffeth up. This knowledge of yours, that idols are 
nothing, and that consequently it is lawful to eat of things offered 
to idols, which accordingly you do to the great offence of those who 
know it not, makes you proud towards the ignorant, and makes you 
look down on them. The word for pnffeth tip points to a bladder 
distended with wind. Such, he says, is this windy knowledge. S. 
Augustine {Se7it. n. 241) says: " // is a virtue of the huitible not 
to boast of their knoivledge ; because, as all alike share the light, so 
do they the truth." 

But charity edifieth. The weak and ignorant. It brushes aside 
such things as the eating of idol-sacrifices, which may be stumbling- 
blocks to them, so as to keep them in the faith of Christ, and help 
them forward in it. Windy knowledge, therefore, makes a man 
proud, if it be not tempered with charity. So Anselm. 


It plainly appears that this knowledge, which puffeth up, is 
contrary to charit}', for it induces contempt of one's neighbours, 
while charity is anxious to edify them. S. Bernard {Serm. 36 in 
Canti'c.) says appositely: "As food, if fwt digested, generates un- 
healthy htimours, and harms rather than nourishes the body, so if a 
mass of knowledge be bolted into the mitid's stomach, tvhicJi is the 
7nemory, and be not assimilated by the fire of Christ, and if it be so 
passed along through the arteries of the soul, viz., the character and 
acts, will it not be regarded as sin, being food changed into evil and 
noxious humours ? " 

Ver. 2. — And if any man think that he knowcth anything, lie 
knorceth fiothing yet as he ought to know. He who is puffed up at 
the thought that he knows something, knows not yet the end, use 
and measure of knowledge. Knowledge is given to cause humility, 
to enable us to benefit all that we can, to stand in the way of no 
one, to cause offence to no one, that so we may be known and 
loved by God. He is pointing at those who displayed their 
knowledge about the nature of idol sacrifices, by eating of them, 
though it were an ofifence to the untaught. 

S. Bernard, in explaining this passage {Serm. 36 iti Cantic), says 
beautifully : " You see that he gives no praise to him that knowcth 
many things, if he is ig7iorant of the measure of knowing. That 
7}ieasure is to know the order, the zeal, and the end with which we 
should seek knowledge. The order is to seek tliat first which is more 
cojiducive to salvation. The zeal 7oe should show is in seeking that 
more eagerly which makes us love more vehemently. The e?id of 
knowledge is not for vain glory, curiosity, or a?ty like thi7ig, but o/ily 
for OJir 0ZV7Z edification or that of our 7ieighbour. For there are so7ne 
who tvish to k7iow 07ily that they 7nay k7i07V, a7ul this is vile curiosity. 
There are so/ne who wish to knoic that they 77iay be known the7/iselves, 
a7id this is co7ite77iptible vanity : sjich do 7iot escape the scoff of the 
satirist, ' To k/iow yoiir oti'/i is 7iothing, jmless another k7iozvs that 
you k7iow yourself There are so77ie again who ivish to knotv, that 
they 7nay see their k7iowledge, a7id this is despicable chaffering. But 
there are also so77ie 7vho 7vish to kno7u that they may edify, and this 


is charity ; and some who wish to know that they may be edified, aJid 
this is prudence. Of all these the last two only are not found to abuse 
knowledge, for they wish to gain miderstanding that they may do 
good." Again {de Conscientia, c. ii.) he says: " Afany seek for 
knowledge, few conscicfice. If as much care and zeal were devoted to 
conscience as is given to the pursuit of empty an I worldly know- 
ledge, it would be laid hold of more quickly and retai?ied to greater 

Ver. 3. — But if any man love God, the same is known of Him. 
If any, for God's sake, love his neighbour, so as not to make him 
stumble at seeing him eat of idol sacrifices, &c., but seeks instead 
to edify him, then that man is approved of and beloved by God, 
and in His knowledge God is well pleased. 

Note that he that loves God loves also his neighbour ; for the 
love of God bids us love our neighbour for God's sake ; and the 
love of God is exhibited and seen in the love of our neighbour 
(i S. John iv. 20). 

Ver. 4. — We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that 
there is none other God but One. An idol is not what it is com- 
monly supposed to be, not what it stands for, is not God. It 
has no Divine power ; materially it is of wood, formally it is no- 
thing. It is an image of a falsehood, or of a non-existent God. 
Consequently that which is offered to idols is as such nothing, 
has no Divinity or sanctity derived from the idol to which it 
was offered. 

The word " idol " itself is derived from the Greek etSos, which 
TertuUian says denotes appearance ; and from it the diminutive, 
etScoA-ov, was formed {de Idolol. ciii.). An "idol" among the earlier 
Greek writers denoted any empty and untrustworthy image, such as 
hollow phantasms, spectres, the shades of the dead, and the like. 
In the same way Holy Scripture and Church writers have limited 
the term idol to an image of God which is regarded as God, and 
is not really so, as is evident from this verse. The LXX., too, 
throughout the Old Testament, apply the same term to the statues 
and gods of the heathen. 


Hence Henry Stephen and Jo'nn Scapula are deceived and 
deceive, when they lay down in their lexicons that the term idol is 
applied by ecclesiastical writers to any image representing some 
deity to which honour and worship are paid. It is not every statue 
or image of every god that is an idol, but only the image of a false 
god. Cf. Cyprian {de Exhort. Mart. c. i.), Tertullian {de Idolol), 
Athanasius {contra Idola). 

The Protestant fraud, therefore, must be guarded against which 
confounds idol with image, and concludes that all images are for- 
bidden by those passages of Scripture which condemn idolatry. Cf. 
Bellarmine {de Imagin. lib. ii. c. 5), who shows unanswerably that 
an idol is the representation of what is false, an image of what 
is true. 

Vers. 5, 6. — For though there be that are called gods, . . . to us 
there is but one God, &c. The pagans have gods many and lords 
many, as the sun, moon, and stars, or terrestrial gods, as Jupiter, 
Apollo, Hercules ; but we have only one God, for whose glory and 
honour we were created. 

Notice that Scripture speaks of the Father as He of whom are 
all things, as their first principle ; and of the Son as He by whom 
are all things, as the archetype and word by whom all things were 
made ; and of the Holy Spirit as in whom are all things, inasmuch 
as He is the bond of love between the Father and the Son. Cf. 
notes to Rom. xi. ^i^. 

Notice also against the Arians that, when S. Paul says One God, 
he is only excluding false gods, not the Son and the Holy Spirit. 
When he says One Lord Jesus Christ, he is only excluding false 
lords, not the Father and the Holy Spirit. 

Ver. 7. — Howbeit there is not in every ?nan that knowledge. I.e., 
that an idol and what is offered to it are nothing. 

For S07ne with cofiscietice of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing 
offered utito an idol. They eat what is offered to an idol with 
reverence, thinking that the idol has something that is Divine, and 
that the offering was made to the deity lurking behind the idol. 
So Anselm. 

VOL. I. N 


Theophylact explains this verse differently, thus : " Some eat 
of what has been offered to the idol, under the false supposition 
that it has been changed by the idol and physically breathed upon 
by a devil, and so in some way affected by him, or, at all events, 
morally defiled by him, so as to be regarded to be now his property 
and food, with power to change and pollute him that eateth of it. 
]n this way they eat of idol sacrifices under the mistaken belief 
that they are polluted by them." This sense also is suitable and 
likely ; for there can be no doubt that, among the Corinthians 
lately converted, were som.e who were over-scrupulous and some 

A7td their conscience being 7C'eak is defiled. Being not fully 
instructed in the faith about these matters, they go against their 
conscience in following the example of others, and eating of idol 
sacrifices. So Chrysostom. 

Libertines do but rave when they lay down from this passage 
that neither fornication, nor drunkenness, nor anything else is sin, 
if the conscience has no scruples. This is to advise men to get 
rid of conscience, so as to sin at pleasure. Libertines therefore 
have no conscience ; and they would appear therefore to have put 
aside their manhood, their reason, and all virtue. But what folly 
is it to ascribe sucli sentiments to the Apostle ! For who is there 
that sees not that the Apostle is here speaking, not of sins or of 
forbidden things, but of things indifferent, such as the eating of 
idol offerings ? 

Ver. 8. — Bid meat commendeth us not to God. The eatinsr of 
idol sacrifices or of any other food is in itself no help towards piety, 
which makes us acceptable to God. Therefore, we that are strong 
ought not, under the pretext of piety, to wish to use all things as 
alike indifferent. The Apostle here turns to the more advanced, 
and warns them to avoid giving offence to the weak. 

It is foolish, therefore, as well as wrong, for heretics to wrest 
this passage into an argument against the choice of food and the 
fasts of the Church. Food, indeed, does not commend us to God, 
for it is not a virtue ; but abstinence from forbidden food is an act 


of temperance, obedience, and religion, and does therefore com- 
mend us to God, as it commended Daniel and his companions, 
the Rechabites, John Baptist, and others. Cf. notes to Rom. 
xiv. 17. 

For neither if we eat are 7C'e the better. If we eat of idol offer- 
ings, we do not on that account abound the more in virtue, merit, 
and grace, which commend us before God, and therefore we ought 
not to have any desire so to eat. So Chrysostom. 

Secondly, it is more simple to take this as a fresh reason to 
dissuade them from eating idol-sacrifices. Whether we eat of these 
things, we shall not abound any the more with pleasant food and 
other good things ; or whether we eat not, we shall not be deprived 
of them, for we may eat of other things. So it is often said that, 
whether we be invited to a banquet or not, we shall not on that 
account be full or be hungry, be fatter or leaner, richer or poorer. 
He is pointing out that food is a thing of little account, and may 
therefore be put aside if scandal arise, and be subordinated to 
the edification of our neighbours. So Anselm. 

Ver. 10. — Sit at meat in the idoFs temple. Erasmus takes the 
word which we have idots temple to mean idol's feast. The text, 
however, gives the better translation. S. Paul speaks of their sitting 
at meat in an idol's temple, or at a table consecrated to idols. 
Those who were about to partake of the idol-sacrifices were wont 
to have tables set out in the temple, as Herodotus says in Clio, and 
Virgil (^S/?. viii. 283), in his description of the sacrifice of Evander 
and the subsequent feast with the Trojans. So too did the Jews 
eat of the peace-offerings in the court of the Temple (Deut. xvi. 2). 

It hence follows that to eat of things offered to idols in an idol 
temple is not only an evil because of the scandal it causes, but also 
is an evil in itself, because it is a profession of idolatry, as will be 
said at chap. x. 

Anselm says tropologically : " The knowledge of idol-offerings is 
the knowledge of the vanity of heathen philosophy, poetry, and 
rhetojic. This must be guarded against. Far be it from a Chris- 
tian mouth to say, 'By Jove,' or 'By Hercules,' or 'By Castor,' 


or to use other expressions that have more to do with monsters than 
with Divine beings." 

Emboldened h&xQ is either (i.) provoked to eat of things offered to 
idols, as though they were sacred and the channels of grace, and so 
he will be led to sacrifice to some deity and return to idolatry ; or 
(2.) he will be provoked to act against his conscience, which tells 
him that food offered to an idol has been breathed upon by it 
and polluted, and that therefore he will be polluted if he eat. 
Cf. note to ver. 7. 

Ver. 12. — Btif when ye sin so against the brethren . . . ye si?t 
against Christ. For Christ reckons as done to Himself whatever 
is done to one of the least of His brethren (S. Matt. xxv. 40). 
Moreover, those who cause their neighbour to stumble, sin against 
Christ, for by their evil example they destroy and overturn the 
building of Christ, viz., their neighbour's righteousness and salva- 
tion, which Christ has built up at the cost of His own blood. 

Ver. 13. — Wherefore, if meat ?nake my brother to offend, I will 
(at no flesh while the world siatideth. S. Chrysostom says : " // is 
the mark of a good teacher to teach by exa?nple as luell as precept. 
The Apostle does fiot qualify what he says by adding * justly' or 
* unjustly,' but he says absolutely, ^ If ineat make my brother to 
offend.' He docs not speak of idol-offerings as being prohibited for 
other reasons, but he says that if what is lawful causes his brother to 
offend, he will abstain from it, not for one or two days, but for his 
whole life. Nor does he say, *■ Lest I destroy my brother,' but ^ Lest 
I make my brother to offend.' It would be the height of folly in ns to 
regard those things, which are so dear to Christ that He refused not to 
die for them, as so worthless that we zvill not for their sake abstain 
from certain food." 

On the subject of offence, see S. Basil (AV^. Brevior. 64), where, 
towards the end, he says that the offence is greater in proportion to 
the knowledge or rank of him who gives it ; and he adds that at his 
hand God will require the blood of those sinners who follow his bad 


1 lie shewdh his liberty, 7 a>id that the minister ought to live by the gospel : 
15 yet that hims'lf hath of his ozvn accord abstained, 18 to be either chargeable, 
unto them, 22 or offensive unto any, in matters indifferent. 24 Our life is like 
unto a race. 

AM I not an apostle ? am I not free ? have I not seen Jesus Clirist our Lord ? 
Ix. are not ye my work in the Lord ? 

2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you : for the seal 
of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. 

3 Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, 

4 Have we not power to eat and to drink ? 

5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, 
and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? 

6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working ? 

7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, 
and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of 
the milk of the flock? 

8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 

9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of 
the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen ? 

10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is 
written : that he that ploweth should plow in hope ; and that he that thresheth 
in hope should be partaken of his hope. 

11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap 
your carnal things ? 

12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather ? Neverthe- 
less we have not used this power ; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the 
gospel of Christ. 

13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things 
of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 

14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should 
live of the gospel. 

15 But I have used none of these things : neither have I written these things, 
that it should be so done unto me : for it were better for me to die, than that 
any man should make my glorying void. 

16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity 
is laid upon me ; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel ! 

17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward : but if against my will, 
a dispensation of the gospel \s committed unto me. 

18 What is my reward then? VcrHy that, when I preach the gospel, I may 



make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the 

19 For thouj;h I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto 
all, that I might gain the more. 

20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews ; to 
them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are 
under the law ; 

21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to 
God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 

22 To the weak became I as weak, tliat I might gain the weak : I am made 
all things to all tjicn, that I might by all means save some. 

23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof 
w ith yoii. 

24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the 
prize ? So run, that ye may obtain. 

25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. 
Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown ; but we an incorruptible. 

26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly ; so fight I, not as one that beateth 
the air : 

27 But I keep under my body, and bring il into subjection : lest that by any 
means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 


i. He proceeds to show by his own example how offences are to be 
avoided, and he says that he had refused to accept payment, or the 
maintenance due to a preacher of the Gospel, both to gain greater 
merit and for the sake of edification. 

ii. He then (ver. 7) proves by six arguments (summarised in the notes to 
ver. 12) that this maintenance is due to himself and other preachers 
of the Gospel. 

iii. He shows (ver. 20) that for the same reason he had become all things 
to all men, that the Corinthians might learn how each one must care 
for his own edification and the salvation of his neighbour. 

iv. He urges them (ver. 24) to that same edification, pointing out that 
our life is a race and trial of virtue, and in them we must run and 
strive after better things, and after the prize, by abstinence and bodily 

Ver. i.—Am I not an aJ)ostk? am I not free ^ It may be asked 
what connection this has with the preceding chapter : it seems to 
be an abrupt transition to another subject, I reply that Paul had 
spoken at the end of the last chapter of the necessity of avoiding 
all that might cause offence. Now, that he may enforce this, he 
puts himself forward as an example, and points to his having refused 


to receive any payment for his preaching, and his having earned his 
bread by his own labours ; this cession of his rights he made, both 
to avoid causing any to offend, and to give an example of singular 
virtue. He would so teach the Corinthians not to stand upon their 
rights, especially in the matter of eating idol-sacrifices, out of regard 
for their neighbours, if they saw that they were thus made to 
stumble, or led into sin. Yet at the same time Paul, by implication, 
guards in this declaration the sincerity and authority of his preach- 
ing against the false apostles who impugned them ; he points in- 
directly to his having preached the Gospel without money and with- 
out price, while the false apostles made gain out of it. He says, 
therefore: "Am I not an Apostle? am I not free? Am I not within 
my rights, as the Apostle of Christ, if I demand and receive from 
you means for my maintenance ? Yet this I do not do, because 
I wish to show you what our neighbour's salvation demands from 
us, and how you ought, therefore, to avoid all causes of offence." 
Cf. Chrysostom's homily on this text (Xo. 20). 

Have J not see?i Jesus Christ our Lord ? Are not ye my work 
in the Lord? It is clear that I am an Apostle, for I have seen 
Christ, and been sent by Him to preach the Gospel. Cf. Acts ix. 
5 ; xxii. 18. 

Ye are my work in the Lord, because I begat you by the Gospel 
in Christ. Your Church was built up by me : ye are my building. 

Ver. 2. — For the seal of mine Apostkship are ye in the Lord. A 
proof of my apostleship may be seen in you, in my preaching, in 
my miracles, in the toil and the dangers which I liave either borne 
or performed amongst you for your conversion ; by such things as 
by Divine seals have I sealed, confirmed, and proved my apostle- 
ship. All these things loudly testify that I am a true Apostle, sent 
by God to teach and save you. 

Ver. 3. — Mine ansiver to them that do examine me is this. Those 
who ask about my Apostleship may take what I have said as their 
answer. So Ansehn. But Chrysostom and Ambrose just as suitably 
refer this to the following verse. 

To examine or interrogate is a judicial term, and is purposely 


used by S. Paul to point to the audacity of those who called in 
question his jurisdiction. 

Ver. 4. — Have we not power to eat and to drink ? Viz., at your 
expense. This is the glory and defence of me and my apostleship, 
that it is gratuitous, unlike that of the false apostles. Notwith- 
standing I have the same right, the same power to look for means 
from you for my eating and drinking. 

Ver. 5. — Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well 
as other apostles ? The Greek is a8eA(^r)v ywaiKa, which the Latin 
version turns inulierem sororem ; and Beza, Peter Martyr, Vatablus, 
and Valla render sororem uxorem. They argue from this that Paul 
was married, urging that, though the Greek word stands both 
for woman and wife, yet here its meaning is fixed to the latter by 
the term "lead about," Men do not, they say, lead about sisters 
but wives. 

They mistake : i. Christ led about women, not as a husband 
might a wife, but as a teacher is accompanied by disciples and 
handmaidens, who see to his necessities. Cf. Luke viii. 3. 

2. It would be absurd to call a sister a wife, and the term sister 
would be superfluous. 

3. The definite article is wanting in the Greek, which would 
be required if a certain woman, as, e.g., a wife, were designated. 

4. It is evident from i Cor. vii. 8 that Paul was unmarried. 
This passage is explained at length in the sense I have given by 
Augustine {de Opere Monach. c. iv.), Jerome {contra Jovin. lib. i.), 
Chrysostom, Ambrose, Theodoret, Theophylact in their comments 
on the verse, and by other Fathers generally, except by Clement 
of Alexandria {Strom, lib. iii.). S. Jerome indeed says that, among 
the Apostles, Peter was the only one that had a wife, and that only 
before his conversion. Tertullian's words {de Monogamia) are : " I 
find that Peter alone was a husband." 

I say, then, that the phrase here is literally " sister woman," and 
denotes a Christian matron who ministered to Paul's necessities from 
her means. We have a similar phrase in Acts xiii. 26, "men 
brethren," ie , Christian men. S. Paul says then that he might, 


if he so saw fit, lead about a matron to support him, as much as 
Peter; but he does not do so, because it might be a cause of of- 
fence to the Gentiles, whose Apostle he was, and might only cause 
evil surmisings. So Ambrose, Chrysostom, Theodoret, CEcumenius, 

It may be said that Ignatius, in his letter to the Philadelphians, 
classes Paul among the married. Baronius (a.d. 57, p. 518) and 
others well reply that Paul's name was inserted there by later Greek 
copyists, to serve as an excuse for themselves being married. The 
oldest and best copies of the Epistles of S. Ignatius, including that 
of the Vatican and of Sfort, have not S. Paul's name. 

It may be said again that Clement of Alexandria {Strom, lib. iii.) 
understands this passage of a wife of Paul. I reply, firstly, that 
that is true, but that he goes on to say that after he became an 
Apostle she was to him as a sister, not as a wife, which is against 
the heretics, and in the second place that all the Fathers are against 

And the brethren of the Lord. Brethren is a common Hebraism 
for kinsmen. James, John, and Judas are here meant. So Anselm. 

And Cephas. Nay, as well as Peter, the prince of the Apostles 
and of the Church. 

Ver. 7. — Who goeth a zvarfare any time at his oivn charges ? Just 
as it is right for soldiers to be paid and to live on their pay; just 
as it is right for a vine-grower to eat of the fruit of his vine, for a 
shepherd of the milk of the flock that he feeds, so is it right for the 
preachers of the Gospel to live of the Gospel, of their vineyard the 
Church, and of their flock, the members of Christ. The Apostle is 
beginning here to prove in various ways his right to receive payment 
for his preaching, that all after him might know that this is owing to 
preachers of the Word of God, and that he may show how unde- 
niable and how clear is the right that he has freely given up by 
refusing to receive payment out of regard to the Corinthians. He 
so acted in order that by this generosity of his he might draw them 
to Christ and help forward their salvation. I will summarise his 
reasons at ver. 12. 


Ver. S. — Say I these things as a man ? Do I prove or strengthen 
my arguments by human reasons merely, and by similitudes drawn 
from the life of the soldier, the vine-grower, the shepherd? By 
no means. Nay, rather I establish and fortify them from the law 
of God. 

Ver. 9. — For it is written in the laiv of Moses, &c. Deut. 
XXV. 4. The reason doubtless was that it was right that the 
animals who laboured should also eat. Hence God forbade that 
the mouths of the oxen that trod out the corn should be muzzled, 
to prevent them from eating of what they trod out. It was the 
custom in Palestine, as it is now in some places, for the oxen to 
thresh out the grain by treading the corn-ears with their hoofs. 
That this is the literal meaning appears from the words in which 
it is enjoined on the hard-hearted Jews. 

It may be objected that the Apostle seems here to exclude 
this meaning, by saying, "Doth God take care for oxen?" 
Abulensis, commenting on Deut. xxv., says that the literal sense 
of the verse is twofold: (i.) It refers to oxen, as has just been 
said, but not principally; (2.) The sense which is uppermost and 
chiefly intended by the Holy Spirit is that given by the Apostle here 
when he speaks of preachers. God, he says, takes care for oxen in 
the second place, but for teachers in the first ; and therefore it is 
more the literal sense of the injunction that preachers should be 
maintained than that oxen should. But it is evident that the first 
only of these two is the Hteral sense. For the word ox denotes 
a preacher typically only, and not literally. Otherwise the literal 
sense would be wholly allegorical, which is absurd. For the lite- 
ral sense is that which is the first meaning of any sentence; the 
allegorical or typical is that which is derived from the literal. As 
then the shadow of a body is not the body itself, so the typical 
sense cannot be the literal, but is merely shadowed forth by the 

The literal meaning therefore of the verse in Deuteronomy is that 
which I have given, but the mystical is that which is given by the 
Apostle, that preachers must be maintained, and that they are to 


live of the Gospel, just as the ox is fed on what he treads out ; and 
since God's chief care is for the former, the mystical meaning of the 
text is, as the x^postle says, the one that is uppermost. 

Notice that it is a matter of faith that God takes care for oxen : 
for by His providence He cares for the sparrows (S. Matt. x. 29), 
and for the young ravens that call upon Him (Ps. cxlvii. 9), and 
for all animals, as the Psalmist frequently says, and especially 
throughout Psalm civ. The Apostle means, therefore, that in this 
precept God's chief care was not for oxen, but for preachers like 
S. Paul, who are like oxen in labouring and treading out the corn 
in the Lord's field and threshing-floor, and are to be allowed to 
live of the Gospel. 

Ver. 10. — Or saith He it altogether for our sakcs ? For our sakes 
no doubt this is written. The argument is here, as so often in S. 
Paul's writings, from the mystical, not the literal sense ; or rather it 
is an a fortiori argument from the literal to the mystical sense, 
thus : If the ox lives on what he treads out, much more may an 
Apostle live of the Gospel. Cf. Tertullian {contra Marcion, lib. 
V. c. 7) and Theodoret (qu. xxi. in Deut.). Observe here that, 
though the literal sense is the first in time, yet the mystical is 
the first in importance, and the one chiefly intended by the Holy 

T/iai he that ploweth should plow iti hope. Just as those tiiat 
plough and thresh do so in hope of being partakers of what is 
reaped and threshed out, so too the preacher may hope for support 
because of his preaching. Of this hope Ovid speaks {Ep. ex Ponto, 
lib. i. vi. 30): "Hope it is that gives courage to the farmer, and 
intrusts the seeds to the ploughed-up furrows, to be returned with 
heavy interest by the kindly earth." 

From this passage we may argue a fortiori that to work in hope 
of an eternal reward is an act of virtue, and that this act therefore 
is meritorious. Hence the Sorbonne, as Claudius Guiliandus testi- 
fies in his remarks on this passage, has defined as erroneous the 
proposition that " he that strives for the sake of a reward, and 
w'ould not strive unless he knew that a reward would be given, 


deprives himself of the reward." The Council of Trent has the 
same definition (Sess. vi. can. 31). 

Ver. 12. — If others be partakers of this potver over you, are fiot we 
rather? The Apostle proves by six arguments that he and other 
ministers of the Word of God and the Church may receive their 
expenses from their flocks : (a) By the examples of the other 
Apostles (ver. 5) ; (b) by comparisons drawn from the practice of 
soldiers, shepherds, and agriculturists (ver. 7); {c) from the law of 
Moses (ver. 9) ; (d) from the example of the priests and Levites 
of the Old Testament, who lived on the sacrifices offered on the 
altar that they served (ver. 13); {e) from the ordinance of God 
and of Christ (ver. 14) ; (/) from the very nature of the case, from 
the positive command of God, as well as from the law of nature, 
which declares that, as payment is due to a workman, so is support 
to a minister of the Word, not as the price of sacred things, which 
would be dishonouring to them and simoniacal, but as what is 
necessary for them to fitly discharge their sacred functions for the 
people's sake. Hence this support is owing to them as a matter 
of justice. So Chrysostom. 

Nevertheless we have not used this pozver, but suffer all things. We 
have not claimed our right to maintenance, but endure the utmost 
poverty, and undertake every kind of evil to relieve that poverty by 
working with our hands. 

Lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. He would not receive 
money for his support, lest he should give occasion to covetous or 
injudicious men to hinder the Gospel and bring obloquy upon it. 
That there was no cause of offence given here by the Apostle, but 
that it was received from others, and that it was in him a work of 
supererogation to refuse to receive payment, appears from what has 
gone before, and from ver. 15, where he says, "It were better for 
me to die than that any man should make my glorying void." 

Ver. 13. — Do ye not ktioiv that they which minister about holy 
things live of the things of the temple ? The priests and Levites 
partake of the victims offered, and the tithes and firstfruits. The 
Greek for " minister " is " labour." The office of the priests was to 


labour at killing, cutting up, skinning, boiling, and burning the 
victims, all of which are laborious, and under other circumstances 
would be the work of butchers. 

And they which wait at the altar. He does not say, says S. 
Chrysostom, the priests, but they which wait at the altar, that we 
may see that constant attendance on sacred things is required from 
the ministers of the temple of Christ, who partake of the good 
things of the Temple. On the other hand, now-a-days, none are less 
often at the altar than some who derive the greatest profit from 
the altar and from tithes. These are condemned by the Council of 

Ver. 14. — Even so hath the Lord ordained. S. Luke x. 7; S. 
Matt. X. 10, II, and 14. 

Ver. 15. — For it were better for me to die than that any man 
should make my glorying void. His glorying has for its subject the 
preaching of the Gospel without charge, or his work of liberality, 
free grace, and supererogation, as is evident from ver. 18. It appears 
from this that it is an Evangelical counsel to preach the Gospel 
without charge, as is now done by some apostolic and religious 
men. So Theophylact, Theodoret, and Anselm. Cf. also Chry- 
sostom and Anselm. 

Observe that S. Paul does not speak of his glory but his gloryijig, 
viz., that that he could make before God and before men, especially 
before the false apostles, who were held of great account and 
sumptuously maintained by the Corinthians. Cf. 2 Cor. xi. 7, for 
similar "glorying." 

Ver. 16. — Woe is unto me if I preach 7iot the gospel. It appears 
from this that strict injunctions were given to the Apostles (S, MatL 
xxviii. 19) to preach the Gospel and teach all nations, insomuch that, 
if they had neglected to do so, they would have sinned mortally. 
For on those that neglect this their duty he pronounces the woe of 
the wrath of God and of hell. Ey the same injunctions all pastors, 
Bishops, and Archbishops are now bound. Cf. chap. i. 1 7. 

Ver. 17. — For if 1 do this thing willingly I have a rcivard. That 
is, as Chrysostom, Theophylact, Qi^cumenius, and Anselm say, if I 


freely preach without charge, I have not merely the reward given to 
a work that has been enjoiried on me, as other Apostles have, 
but the exceeding reward of abounding glory given to a work not 
enjoined, but heroically undertaken by a soul that is of its own 
accord generous towards God. 

But if against my will. Compelled by a command of God, or 
under fear of punishment. Willingly here denotes the doing a 
thing of one's own motion, one's own accord, and free will; un- 
willingly, the doing it under order, being moved and forced by the 
will of another. 

A dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. I shall not 
have that supreme glory I spoke of, but neither shall I sin, because 
I fulfil my duty, and do what I am ordered. For this commission 
of preaching the Gospel was intrusted to me. But though I do 
not sin, yet I act as a slave, or as a steward in matters intrusted to 
his care, not of his own accord, but merely doing what he ought to 
do, because compelled to it by his Lord's command. Cf. S. Luke 
xvii. 8. So the Fathers cited understand this passage, and that this 
is the meaning appears also from the context. 

Some explain it differently in this way : If I preach the Gospel 
willingly I have merit and reward, because of my own free will I 
fulfil the command of Christ ; but if I do it unwillingly, I fail to 
attain merit and reward, because I act under compulsion. A dis- 
pensation of the Gospel is committed unto me, and so by me, 
though unwilling, Christ's Gospel is propagated, and others profit, 
though I do not. This seems to be the simple meaning of the 
words by themselves. This explanation is favoured by S. Thomas, 
Lyranus, and the Ambrosian commentary; but the context requires 
the former sense. 

Ver. 1 8. — What is my reward then? That glorious and 
supreme reward spoken of. 

Observe that reivard is put by metonymy for merit, or for a 
heroic and meritorious work, that calls for a great reward. This 
work, he goes on to say, is to preach the Gospel without charge. 
From these words it is evident that not all good works are matters 


of precept, but tliat some are works of counsel and supererogation, 
and that such merit with God an illustrious crown of glory. So 
S. Chrysostom, Ambrose, S. Augustine {de Opere. Monach. c. 5), and 
Eellarmine {de Monach. Hb. ii. c. 9). 

The other Apostles, being full of zeal for God, would as well as 
Paul have preached the Gospel freely, if they might thence have 
hoped for a greater harvest of souls, and greater glory before God. 
But this they might not hope for, for the faithful were generous to 
them, and the Jews devoted to them, and of their own accord they 
supplied their needs. Cf. Acts iv. 34. But Paul, as one outside 
the order and number of the twelve Apostles, called to the aposto- 
late after the death of Christ, had to gain a recognition of his 
authority, and he judged it useful to that end that he should preach 
the Gospel without charge. Moreover, the Corinthians, though rich, 
were covetous; and, therefore, Paul preached freely to prevent 
them from supposing that he sought their goods instead of them- 
selves ; but from the more generous Thessalonians and Philippians 
he accepted support. In short, Paul wished by this course of 
action to shut the mouth of the Jews, who hated him, and of the 
false Apostles. He says this indeed in 2 Cor. xi. 12. 

That I abuse not my poiver in the Gospel. That I may not 
use my undoubted right and liberty to the detriment of the Gospel. 
Not that it really is an abuse to receive money for preaching the 
Gospel, but that it is the employment of a lesser good. Abuse is 
used here for use to the full, as it is in chap. vii. 31. Cf. a similar use 
of the word in S. Paulinus {Ep. ii.) 

It may be said that Ambrose here understands the word to 
mean literal abuse, which is sin, when he says : "They who use their 
right, when it is inexpedient to do so, or when another suffers loss, 
are guilty, and therefore sin." I reply that this is true when they 
can easily give up their right, and when others suffer great loss by their 
not yielding ; for charity then bids us give way. These conditions, 
the Ambrosian commentary seems to think, existed with Paul and 
the Corinthians. 

But the opposite is far more true. It was a very difficult matter 


for the Apostle to yield his right of maintenance at the hands of the 
Corinthians, because by so yielding he had to spend nights without 
sleep, while he laboured with his hands to procure food for himself 
and his companions ; while the Corinthians, who were numerous 
and rich, might easily have maintained him. Nor ought they to 
have taken offence at this, for the other Apostles were maintained 
by their flocks, and all law and reason say that he who labours for 
another should be maintained by him. The Apostle, therefore, 
wished to set a noble example of poverty, sincerity, and zeal, for the 
greater commendation and spread of the faith among those who 
were young in it, and the avaricious rich. But such a heroic work 
as this is not a precept, but a counsel of charity. Therefore, in 
the next verse, he says that in such matters he is free. 

Ver. 19. — For though I be free from all men, yet have I made 
myself servant unto all I humbled myself to all things, even to 
want and hunger ; I accommodated myself to the weaknesses of all, 
insomuch that, when I saw the Corinthians slow and niggardly in 
their support of the Apostles, I refused to accept any payment from 
them, that I might gain all by condescending to their infirmity. 

Ver. 20. — To them that are under the law, as under the law. To 
the Jews I became as one under the Mosaic law. This took place, 
e.g., says Qicumenius, when he circumcised Timothy, when, after 
purifying himself, he went to the Temple, because he had a vow 
(Acts xxi. 26). 

Ver. 21. — To them that are without law, as without laiv. To 
the Gentiles I became as though I followed nature only as my light 
and leader, as the Gentiles do. So CEcumenius, Theophylact, and 

Ver. 22. — I a/n made all things to all men. Not by acting deceit- 
fully or sinfully, but through sympathy and compassion, which made 
me suit myself to the dispositions of all men, so, as far as honesty 
and God's law allow, that I might be able to heal the indispositions 
of all. Cf. S. Augustine {Efp. 9 and 19): "Not by lying, but by 
sympathy ; not by cunning craftiness, but by large-hearted com- 
passion was Paul made all things to all men." 


The Apostle does not sanction what men of the world wish for 
and do, viz., the accommodating ourselves through right and wrong 
to all men, feigning to be heretics with heretics, Turks with Turks, 
pure with the pure, and unclean with those that are unclean. This 
he condemns (Gal. ii. ii et seq.). The advice of S. Ephrem {Attetide 
til)i, c. lo) is sound : " Have charity with all and abstain from all ; " 
and again the apophthegm of S. Bernard, which embraces every 
virtue : '■'■Live so as to be prudent for yourself, useful to others, pleasing 
to God." S. Jordan, S. Dominic's successor in the Generalship of 
the Order, used to say, as his life relates : " 7/" / had devoted niyself 
as closely to any branch of learning as I have to that sentence of S. 
Pauls, ' / am viadc all things to all men,' I should be most learned 
and eminent in it. Throughout the ivhole of my life I have studied to 
accojninodate myself to every one : to the soldier I was as a soldier, to 
the nobleman as a noblemaii, to the plebeian as a plebeian ; a?id thus 
I always endeavoured to do than good in this way, ivhile on the watch 
that I did not lose or hurt my soul ivhile be?iefitti?ig the>n." 

Ver. 23. — And this I do for the gospeVs sake, that I might be 
partaker thereof ivith you. That I may with other preacliers receive, 
in due time, fruit of the Gospel that I have preached. The Greek 
denotes a partaker with others. Hence in the second place Chry- 
sostom understands " partaker thereof " to mean a fellow-sharer of 
the faithful in the Gospel, i.e., of the crowns laid up for the faithful. 
And Chrysostom rightly points to the wonderful humility of Paul, 
in putting himself on a level with even ordinary Christians, when he 
had surpassed not only the faithful, but all the other Apostles in his 
labours for the Gospel. Cf. i Cor. xv. 10. 

Ver. 24. — Know ye not that they which rufi in a ?-ace rufi all, but 
one receiveth the prize ? For this I preach the Gospel without charge , 
for this I am made all things to all men ; for this I labour, that I may 
obtain that best prize of all, given to those who run in this race. 

As it is in a race, so is it ia the Christian course : it is not all 
that run that receive the prize, but those only that run well and 
duly reach the appointed goal. I say duly, or according to the 
laws of the course which Christ the Judge has laid down for those 

VOL. I. O 


that run, and according to which He has promised the prize to those 
that run well. When, therefore, one is mentioned, more are not 
excluded. For the Apostle does not mean to say, as Chrysostom 
well remarks, that only one Christian surpasses the rest, and is 
more zealous of good works, and will receive the prize ; for a 
similitude does not hold good in all points, but only in that one 
which is expressed. The comparison here is that, as in a race he who 
runs well receives the prize, so in Christianity he who runs well 
will receive a crown of glory. And this is evident from what is 
added, '''' So run that ye ?nay obtain" i.e., not one, but each one. 
Moreover, in a race it is often not only the first, but the second, 
third, or fourth who also receives a prize. 

Still the Apostle says one, not three or four, because he is chiefly 
looking at that glory and superexcellent reward given, not to all 
the elect, but to those few heroic souls that follow, not only the 
precepts, but also the counsels of Christ. For he is looking to the 
prize which he is expecting for himself, in having been the only 
Apostle to preach the Gospel without charge, in having surpassed 
all the other Apostles in the greatness of his labour and his charity, 
in having become all things to all men. He says in effect : O 
Christians, do not merely run duly, that ye may obtain, but run 
most well and most swiftly, that you may carry off the first and 
most splendid prize of glory. It is a sluggish soul that says, " It 
is enough for me to be saved and reach heaven." For each one, 
says Chrysostom, ought to strive to be first in heaven, and receive 
the first prize there. 

Some understand this passage to refer to the mansions or crowns 
and prizes prepared for each of the elect, and would read it, " Let 
each so run that he may obtain his prize." But this explanation is 
more acute than simple. 

Anselm again takes it a little differently. Heathens, heretics, 
reprobates, he says, run, but the one people of elect Christians 
receives the prize. But the Apostle is speaking to Christians only 
as running, and he urges them to so run that they may obtain the 
prize to which they are called by the Gospel of Christ. 


So run that ye may obtain. I.e., obtain the crown of glory and 
the prize of victory. The allusion is to those that ran in the public 
games for a crown as the prize, with which they w'ere crowned when 
victorious. Cf. notes to Rev. iii. 2. The word so denotes the recti- 
tude, the diligence, the swiftness, and the perseverance especially re- 
quired in order to win the prize. The course of Christ was marked by 
these qualities, that course which all ought to put before themselves 
for imitation. S. Bernard {Ep. 254) says : " The Creator Himself of 
mafi and of the world, did He, ivhile He dwelt here below with men, 
sta?td still? Nay, as the Scripture testifies, ' He we?it about doing good 
and healing all.' He went through the world fiot unfruiffiilly, care- 
lessly, lazily, or ivith laggard step, but so as it tvas written of Him, 
'■He rejoiced as a giant to ruti his course.' No one catches the rutiner 
but he that runs equally fast ; and ivhat avails it to stretch out after 
Christ if you do not lay hold of Him 1 Therefore is it that Paul said, 
'So run that ye may obtain.' There, O Chris tia?i, set the goal of your 
course and your journeying where Christ placed His. 'He was made 
obedient unto death.' Hoivever long then you may have run, you zvill 
7iot obtain the prize if you do not persevere even unto death. The prize 
is Christ." He then goes on to point out that in the race of virtue 
not to run, to stand still, is to fail and go back. "But if while He 
runs you stand still, you come no nearer to Christ, nay, you recede from 
Him, afid should fear for yourself what David said, ' Lo, they that 
are far from Thee shall perish' Therefore, if to go fofiuard is to 
run, when you cease to go fonvard you cease to run : when you are not 
ru7iJti?2g you begin to go back. Hence we may plainly see that not 
to wish to go fof~iiiard is nothing but to go back. Jacob satv a ladder, 
and on the ladder angels, 7uJLere none tvas sitting down, none standing 
still ; but all seefned to be cither ascejidingor descending, that zve might 
he plainly given to understand that in this mortal course no mean is to be 
found between goifig forward and going back, but that in the sanie way 
as our bodies are known to be continuously either increasing or decreas- 
ing, so must our spirit be always either goi?ig forward or going back." 

Ver. 25. — And every man that strivethfor the mastery is tetnperate 
tn all things. Every wrestler, &c., refrains from everything that may 


endanger his success, i. The allusion is to the Isthmian games, 
celebrated at Corinth in honour of Neptune and Palaemon, in which 
the victor was crowned with a pine-wreath. Of these games the 
poet Archias thus sings : — 

" Four Argive towns the sacred contests see, 
And two to men, and two to gods belong ; 
Jove gives the olive, Phoebus sunny fruit, 
Palsemon poppy, and Archemorus the pine." 

2. There is consequently an allusion also to the athletes, the 
wrestlers, and boxers, who fought with their fists ; to the runners, 
who strove for the prize for speed ; to all who contested, whether 
with hand, or foot, or the whole body, for the prize. 

3. All these abstained from luxurious living, and only lived on 
the necessities of life. This is what the Apostle alludes to when 
he says, is ternperate ifi all tJmigs. Clement of Alexandria [Strom. 
lib. iii.), following Plato {de Leg. lib. viii.), adds that they also re- 
frained from all sexual intercourse. For as lust weakens, enervates, 
and exhausts the body, so do continence and chastity strengthen 
the body, and much more the mind. S. Ephrem, too, in his 
tractate on the words, " It is better to marry than to burn," explains 
this abstinence from all things spoken of here to be abstinence 
from all lust. 

4. The course is this present life, or each one's state in the 
Church, and especially that of an evangelist ; the runner or wrestler 
is each Christian, Hence, S. Dionysius {de Ecdcs. Hiera7-cli. cvii.) 
says that those who are baptized are anointed with oil, that they 
may understand that by this sign they are anointed to be Christ's 
athletes, and are consequently called to fight a holy fight for faith 
and godhness. He adds that it is the practice, too, to anoint them 
when dead, as athletes perfected by death. He says: "The first 
anointing called him to a holy fight ; the second shows that he has 
finished his course and been perfected by death." 

5. In this course and contest the antagonist is the world, the 
flesh, and the devil; the athlete's diet is moderate food tempered 


with fasting; the fight consists in the castigation of the body, and 
all the arduous offices of virtue, which are accomplished with a 
conflict, whether external or internal ; — especially is the preaching 
and spreading of the Gospel such a fight ; and from such arises the 
victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. The prize is the 
incorruptible crown of eternal glory for which Paul expresses his 
longing in 2 Tim. iv. 8. The punishment inflicted on the con- 
quered is rejection and eternal confusion (ver. 27). As the athlete, 
by abstinence, exercise, and toil, subdues and exercises his body, 
and prepares it for the race-course or the contest, that he may 
conquer by lawful and generous effort, and may obtain a corruptible 
crown, so much more to obtain the eternal crown do we Christians, 
and especially I, your Apostle, keep under and exercise my body 
by fasting, labour, and weariness, and so much more severely do 
I, as an athlete in the Divine contest, exact from myself all the 
offices of those that fight. I do this, lest my body lose the strength 
derived from continency and a hard life by luxurious living, and 
then dwindle down into the helplessness of a self-indulgent life. 
But as I have to fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil, 
let me rather imitate the athletes, and so conquer and be crowned. 
Come, then, O Corinthians, run with me in this course ; abstain not 
only from things offered to idols, because of scandal, but also from 
luxuries — from wine and lust — that you may gain the victory and 
carry off the prize. This exhortation to abstinence was occasioned 
by the question of idol-sacrifices, as I said at the beginning of 
chapter viii. 

Epaminondas, leader of the Thebans, having fought most bravely 
in battle, and being wounded, even to death, asked, as he was 
dying, whether his shield were safe and the enemy slain ; and when 
they answered "Yes" to both questions, he said : "Now is the end 
of my life ; but a better and higher beginning is at hand : now is 
Epaminondas being born in so dying." So Valerius ]\Iaximus 
relates. If Epaminondas so strove for a temporal victory, for praise 
and glory that are evanescent, and died so joyfully and gloriously 
what shall the soldier of Christ do for the crown that fadeth not 


away, for the glory that knows no ending? Tertullian {ad Martyres, 
c. iv.) says excellently : '■'■ Jf earthly glories can so overcome bodily and 
fnenial delights as to throiv cotitejnpt on the sivord,fire, crucifixion, 
wild beasts, and ior?nents, in order to obtain the reward of human 
praise, I may well say that these sufferings are but little to undergo to 
obtain the glories of heaven. Is glass worth as much as true pearls 1 
Who therefore would not most joyfully suffer for the true glory as 
much as others suffer for the false ? " 

Virgil says of Junius Brutus, who ordered his sons to be put to 
death for conspiring against the Romans with the Tarquins — 

" The love of Rome him mastered with boundless thirst for praise ; " 
SO we may say of the Christian — 

"The love of Christ will conquer, and heaven's unquenchable thirst." 

Listen to what S. Chrysostom says {de Martyr, vol. iii.) : " You are 
but a feather-bed soldier if you think that you can conquer without a 
fight, triufnph without a battle. Exert your strength, fight strenuously, 
strive to the death in this battle. Look at the covenant, attend to the 
cofiditions, know the warfare — the covenatit that you have entered 
into, the conditions on ivhich you have enrolled yourself, the warfare 
into tvhich you have thrown yourself^'' 

It is clear from this, says S. Chrysostom, that faith alone is not 
sufficient for salvation, but that works also are requisite, and heroic 
efforts, and especially no small abstinence from all the allurements 
of the world. For, as S. Jerome says {Ep. 34 ad Julian) : "It is 
difficult, 7iay, it is impossible for any ofie to ejijoy both the present and 
the future, to fill here his belly afid there his soul, to pass from otie 
delight to the other, to show himself glorious both in heaven and in 

S. Augustine piously consoles and animates Christ's athletes by 
reminding them of the help that God gives {Serm. 105). He says : 
'■^ He who ordered the strife helps them that strive. God does not 
look upoti you in your cotitest as the spectators do on the athlete : for 
the populace warms him by shouts, but cannot lefid him any help. He 


who arratigcd the cotitest can provide the crown, but cannot lend 
strength; but God, ivhen He sees His serva?its striving, helps them 
zvhen they call upo?i Him. lor it is the voice of the combatant himself 
in Fsalm xciv. 18, who says, ' JFhcu I said, my foot slippeth, Thy 
mercy, O Lord, held 7ne up' " S, Dionysius too (de EccL Hier. cii.) 
says : " To them that strive the Lord promises crowns as God. He 
has laid down the ?-ules of the contest by His zvisdom. Lie has 
appointed rewards most fair and beautiful for the conquerors ; and, 
ivhat is surely more Divine, He Himself, as supreme loving-kindness 
and goodness, conquers in His warriors ; and tvhile He indwells 
within them, LLe fights for their safety and victory against the forces 
of death and corruption." 

Ver. 26. — So fight 1, not as one that beateth the air. The com- 
parison is still maintained. I fight as an athlete, but I do not spend 
my toil for nought, but I wound my enemy, i.e., I subdue my body 
and my flesh ; and when I have subdued this foe, the remaining 
two, the world and the devil, are easily overcome. For the world 
and the devil cannot kill us, wound us, strike us, tempt us, approach 
us, except through the body and its organs, the eyes and ears and 
tongue and other members. 

Ver. 27. — But 1 keep under my body and bring it into subjection. 
I keep under means, says S. Ambrose, " I repress it by fastings ; " "I 
wound it with stripes," says S. Basil {de Virginitate) ; " I starve it," 
says Origen. S. Augustine {de Utilit. Jejun.) says : " The devil often 
takes it 7/pon him to protect the flesh agaitist the soul, and to say, ' ]V]iy 
do you thus fasti — you are laying 2ip pioiishment in store for yourself, 
you are your ozvn torturer and murderer J Answer him, W keep it 
under, lest this beast of burden throiv me headlo?ig.'" For our flesh is 
the devil's instrument ; it is, says S. Bernard, " the snare of the devil " 
(Serm. 8 in Ts. xci.). Erasmus, following Theophylact and Paulinus 
{l^p- 58 ad. Aug.), renders the Greek verb, "I make it black and 
blue," or " I make the eyes of a black and bloody colour." This last 
is, as Hesychius and Suidas say, the literal rendering of the word. 
But all others in general take the word to mean subdue, coerce, 
bruise. Castigate in the Latin, or "keep under,' as the text, suits 


both renderings, but the second is better, as being at once plainer 
and more near to the Greek — taking v-wTnd^u} to be synonymous 

with •L'TTOTTie^CO, 

This keeping under or castigation of the body is effected by 
fastings, hair-shirts, humihations, scourgings, and other mortifica- 
tions of the flesh. Hence some think that Paul was in the habit of 
scourging his body. This is certainly the literal meaning of the 
Greek, which is rendered by Beza, Melancthon, Castalion, and Henry 
Stephen "bruise." But a bruise is not caused except by a blow, 
whether from a stick, or a scourge, or some other instrument. More- 
over, fasting (which some, as, e.g., Ambrose, Gregory, and Chrysostom, 
think was Paul's discipline) is not so much a strife and contest as 
a preparation for them; for of it he has already said, "Every man 
that striveth for the mastery is tonperate in all things." Cf. also 
Jacob Gretser {de DiscipL lib. i. c. 4). 

Moreover, as Anselm remarks, as well as Gregory, in a passage 
to be quoted directly, the Apostle, while he keeps under and scourges 
his body, at the same time scourges and wounds the devil, his 
antagonist, who is in alliance with our carnal concupiscence, and lies 
in hiding within the foul jungle of the flesh, and through it tempts 
and attacks us. 

Lest I myself should he a castaway. Lest I be a reprobate 
from God and excluded from heaven. Maldonatus {Notce Manicsc^ 
learnedly says that, as the comparison is still with the arena, a 
castaway here is one who is conquered in the fight; and that S. 
Paul's meaning is, " Lest while I teach others to conquer I myself 
be conquered." The Apostle is speaking not of eternal reproba- 
tion, which is in the mind of God, but of that temporal reprobation 
which is the execution of the eternal. He is referring to Jer. vi. 
30 : " Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath 
rejected them." 

I. Hence it is clear that the Apostle is not speaking (as in 
2 Cor. xiii. 7), as some think, of the reprobation of men, as if his 
meaning were, " What I preach that I practise : I do not fare sump- 
tuously, but I keep under my body, lest I be a castaway and reprobate 


of men, and regarded as one not doing what he teaches." For 
Jeremiah clearly speaks of God's rejection, not men's ; and reproba- 
tioti and reprobate always refer to this when they are spoken of 
absolutely, and not restricted to men, as they are restricted in 2 
Cor. xiii. 7. Hence appears the uncertainty to us of grace and pre- 
destination. Paul feared being condemned, and will you believe 
that your faith cannot but save you ? 

2. It also follows that Paul had no revelation of his salvation. 
Cf. S. Gregory (lib. vi. Ep. 22, ad Gregoriam). 

3. And that he was not so strong in grace but that he might fall 
from it. 

From this passage, it is evident that the Christian's fight con- 
sists especially in bringing the body into subjection. For this foe is 
an inward foe, and one most hard to withstand, and therefore the 
snares of the flesh are to be dreaded more than all others. We 
ought also to get ourselves ready for this fight by the athlete's 
training, that is, by temperance, and in this temperance we should 
begin the fight, and in it daily increase, grow strong, and come to 
perfection. The Christian, therefore, must begin with conquering 
gluttony. When that is done, it will be easier for him to conquer 
other vices, as Cassianus and others say. Hence it appears that 
the Christian fighter must keep under his body, lest its lusts make 
him a castaway ; and that, therefore, bodily mortification, by watch- 
ings, fastings, and other afflictions, is the right way to salvation, and 
is the most suitable instrument for perfecting virtue, and for the 
complete subdual of vices, if it be done with discretion, and in 
proportion to one's strength and health. Cf. S. Thomas (ii. ii. qu. 
188, art. 7). 

But let us hear what the ancient doctors of the Church have to 
say on this head. Ambrose {Ep. ad Ecd. Verccll.) says : " / hear 
that there are jncfi ivho say that there is no merit in fasting, and who 
scoff at those who mortify their flesh, that they may subdue it to the 
mind. T/iis S. Paul ivould never have done or said if he had thought 
it folly " (let our Protestant friends observe this) ; ^^for he says, as 
though boasting, ' I keep under my body and bring it into subjection, lest 


that hy any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be 
a castaway.' Therefore, those who do not jnortify their body, and who 
wish to preacJi to others, are themselves regarded as reprobates. What 
new school has sent forth these Epicureans to preach pleasure and 
advise luxury ? The Lord Jesus, wishing to strengthen us against the 
temptatiofis of the devil, fasted before He strove with him, that we 
might know that we cannot in ajiy other way overcome the blandish- 
ments of the evil one. Let these men say ivhy Christ fasted if it were 
7iot to give us afi example to do likewise.'' 

S. Gregory {Morals, lib. xxx. c. 26) says : '■'■ Nebuzaradan, the chief 
of the cooks, destroyed the walls of Jerusalem as he destroys the virtues 
of the soul when the belly is ?iot kept in check. Hence it is that Paul 
took away his power from the chief of the cooks, i.e., the belly, in its 
assault on the walls of Jerusalem, when he said, ' L keep under my 
body and bring it into subjection' Hence it is that he had said just 
before, ' So fight L, not as one that beateth the air.' When we restrain 
thefiesh, it is not the air but the unclean spirits that we ivound with 
the blows of our abstifience ; and in subduing what is within we deal 
bloii's to the foes without. Hence is it that, when the Lu?tg of Babylon 
orders tJie furtiace to be heated, he has a heap of toiv and pitch thrown 
into it, but nevertheless the fire has no power over the children of 
abstittence ; for though our old enemy put before our eyes a countless 
number of delicacies to increase the fire of our lust, yet the grace of 
the Spirit from on high whispers to us, bidding iis stand our groufid, 
untouched by the burning lusts of the flesh." 

S. Basil {Horn, de Legend. Gentil. Libris) says : " The body must 
be mortified and kept in check like a wild beast, and the passions that 
take their rise froin it to the souFs hurt must be kept in order ly the 
scourge reason, lest by giving free rein to pleasure the mind becoine 
like a driver of restive and tmbroken horses, and be run away with 
and lost. Amo7igst other sayings there is 07ie of Pythagoras which 
deserves to be retnejnbered. When he saw a certain man looki?ig after 
himself with great care, and fattening himself by sumptuous living and 
exercise, he said: ' Unhappy man! you are ever engaged in building 
for yourself a worse and worse prison / ' Jt is said too of Plato, that 


owing to his vivid realisation of the harm that arises from the body, 
he fixed his Academy at Athens in a?i unhealthy spot, that he might 
reduce the excessive prosperity of the body, as a gardener prunes a vine 
whose boughs stretch too far. I too have often heard physicians say 
that extremely good health is fallacious. Since, therefore, care for the 
body seems to be harmful to body and soul alike, to hug this burden 
and to be a slave to it is evident proof of jnadness. But if we study to 
despise it, tve shall not easily lose ourselves in admiration of anything 
humati." S. Basil again {ifi I\eg. Fusius Disp. Reg. 17) says : '■'■As a 
muscular build a?id good complexio7i put a stamp of superiority on the 
athlete, so is the Christian distinguished fro?n others by bodily emacia- 
tion and pallid complexion, which are ever the compatiiotis of abstinence, 
lie is thereby proved to be a wrestler indeed, followifig the commands 
of Christ, and in iveakness of body he lays his adversary low on the 
grotind, a?id shoius hoiu powerful he is in the contests of godlifiess 
according to the words, ' When I am weak, then am I strong T" 

S. Chrysostom says here: "'/ mortify my body'' means that I 
undergo much labour to live temperately. Although desire is intract- 
able, the belly clamorous, yet I rein them in, and do not surrender 
myself to my passions, but repress them, and with wearisome effort 
bring under nature herself I say this that no one may lose heart in 
his struggle for virtue, for it is an arduous fight Wherefore he says, 
' / keep under ?ny body and bring it into subjection.' lie did not say, 
*■ I destroy and punish it' for the flesh is not ati enemy, but ^ I keep it 
under and bring it into subjection^ because it is the property of my 
Lord, not of an enemy ; of a trainer, not a foe ; ' lest by any means, 
when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.' Jf 
Paid feared this, being such a teacher as he was ; if he had any dread, 
after having preached to the whole world, what are we to say ?" 

S. Jerome, writing against Jovinian, a heretic, an opponent of 
fasting, of chastity, and asceticism, ably defends these duties, and 
about the end of lib. ii. he says: '■'■ The fact that many agree with 
your opinions is a mark of li/xurioustiess ; and you think it adds to 
your j'cputation for wisdom to have more pigs running after you to be 
fed ivith the food or the flames of helL Basilidcs, a teacher of luxury 


and filthy practices^ has after these many years now been transformed 
into Jovinian, as into Euphorbus, that the Latin race might know his 
heresy. It was the banner of the Cross a?id the severity of preaching" 
(let the Protestants mark this) " which destroyed the idol-temples. Im- 
purity, ghitto?ty, and drunkenness are endeavouri?ig to overthrow the 
fortitude taught by the Cross. False prophets always promise pleasant 
things, but they give not much satisfaction. Truth is bitter, and those 
who preach it are filled with bitterness." 

Cassianus (^de Instil. Renunt. lib. v. c. xvii. et seq.) says : " Do you 
want to listen to the true athlete of Christ striving according to the 
lawful rules of the contest ? lie says, ' / therefore so run not as uncer- 
tainly ; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air, but I keep under my 
body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others I 
myself should be a castaway.^ Seest thou how he has placed in himself, 
that is in his flesh, the hottest part of the battle, and has tims put it on 
a firm base, and how he has made the fight consist ifi simple bodily 
mortification and in the subjection of his flesh ? " And then a little 
afterwards he repeats these words of the Apostle, and adds : " This 
properly has to do with the sufferi?tgs of continence, and bodily fasting, 
and mortification of the flesh. He describes himself as a strenuous 
combatant of the flesh, and points out that the blozvs of abstinence that 
he directs against it are not in vain, but that he has gained a triumph 
by mortifying his body. That body, having beefi punished by the blows 
of continence and wounded by the bruises of fastings, has given to the 
victorious spirit the crown of imniortality and the palm that never fadeth. 
. . . So fights he by fastings and affliction of the flesh, not as one that 
beateth the air, i.e., that deals in vain the blows of conti7ience ; but he 
wounds the spirits who dwell in the air, by mortifying his body. For 
he that says, ' not as one that beateth the air^ declares that he strikes 
some one that is in the air. " 

Further, not only for the sake of lust, but to subdue pride and 
break down all vices, and to cultivate every virtue, the body must 
be mortified, as S. Jerome says (Ep. 14 ad Celantiam) : " They who 
are taught by expei-ience and knowledge to holdfast the virtue of absti- 
nence mortify their flesh to break the souTs pride, in order that so 


they may descend from the pinnacle of their haughty arrogatice to fulfil 
the will of God, which is jnost perfectly fulfilled in humility. Therefore 
do they withdraw their inind from hankering after variety of foods, 
that they may devote all their strength to the pursuit of virtue. By 
degrees the flesh feels less and less the burden of fastings, as the soul 
more hungers after righteousness. For that chosen vessel, Paul, in 
mortifying his body and britiging it into subjection, was ?iot seeking 
after chastity alone, as some ignorant persons suppose : for fastifig helps 
not only this virtue but every virtue." 

Lastly, the holy hermits of old, in their zeal after perfection, morti- 
fied their bodies to a degree that seems incredible. And that this 
was pleasing to God is seen from the holiness, the happiness, and 
the length of their lives. We may read for this Jerome, in his life 
of S. Hilarion, S. Paul, S. Malchus ; Athanasius in his life of S. 
Antony ; Theodoret in his life of S. Simeon Stylites, who for eighty 
years stood under the open sky night and day, hardly talcing food 
or sleep. Sagacious men have observed in their lives of the Saints 
that scarcely any Saints have been illustrious for their miracles and 
for their actions but such as were eminent for their fastings and 
asceticism, or who afflicted their bodies, or were afiflicted by God 
with diseases, or by enemies and tyrants with tortures and troubles ; 
that other Saints, who led an ordinary life, were of great benefit to 
the Church, but seldom if ever perform.ed any miracles. 


I The sacraments of the Je~vs 6 are types of ours, 7 and their punishments, II 
examples for us. 14 IVe must fly J rom idolatry. 21 We must not make the 
Lord's table the table of devils : 24 and in things indifferent we must have 
regard of our brethren. 

MOREOVER, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that 
all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea ; 

2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea ; 

3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat ; 

4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink : for they drank of that spiritual 
Rock that followed them : and that Rock was Christ. 

5 But with many of them God was not well pleased : for they were overthrown 
in the wilderness. 

6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after 
evil things, as they also lusted. 

7 Neither be ye idolaters, as loere some of them ; as it is written, Tlie people 
sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 

8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in 
one day three and twenty thousand. 

9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were 
destroyed of serpents. 

10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed 
of the destroyer. 

11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples : and they are 
written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 

12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 

13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man : but 
God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able ; 
but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, tliat ye may be able to 
bear it. 

14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. 

15 I speak as to wise men ; judge ye what I say. 

16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood 
of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of 
Christ ? 

17 For we ^^?';/^many are one bread, and one body : for we are all partakers 
of that one bread. 

18 Behold Israel after the flesh : are not they which eat of the sacrifices 
partakers of the altar ? 

19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in 
sacrifice to idols is any thing ? 


20 But / say, ihat tlie things which the Gentiles sncrifice, they sacrifice to 
devils, and not to God : and I would not that ye should have fellowship with 

21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils : ye cannot be 
partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. 

22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? 

23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient : all things are 
lawful for me, but all things edify not. 

24 lyCt no man seek his own, but every man another's ivcalth. 

25 Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for 
conscience sake : 

26 For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. 

27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go ; 
whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. 

28 But if any man say unto you. This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not 
for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake : for the earth is the Lord's, 
and the fulness thereof: 

29 Conscience, I say, not thine ow'n, but of the other : for why is my liberty 
judged of another man's conscience ? 

30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which 
I give thanks ? 

31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory 
of God. 

32 Give none offence, neither to the -Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the 
church of God : 

33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the 
profit of many, tliat they may be saved. 


From speaking of the contest, in which those who deny themselves and strive 
lawfully are rewarded, and in which the slothful and self-indulgent are condemned 
and put to confusion, of which the Apostle treated at the end of the preceding 
chapter, he goes on to the manners of the Hebrews of old, their lusts and vices, 
especially idolatry, its punishment and condemnation, that by such examples he 
may teach the Corinthians how vices and temptations, and especially idolatry, are 
to be guarded against. 

Consequently, in ver. iS he descends and returns to things offered to idols, 
and answers a question concerning them which had been broached in chapter 
viii. And — 

i. He lays down that it is not lawful for them to eat of things in so far as 
they are offered to idols ; for this would be to give consent to the 
sacrifice, and to profess idol worship, 
ii. In ver. 22 he points out that it is not lawfiil to cat of them when the 
weaker brethren arc offended at it. Hence in ver. 31 he recommends 
to the Corinthians edifying above everything, and bids them do every- 
thing to the glory of (jod and the salvation of their neighbours. 


Ver. I. — Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignoratit 
how that all our fathers were under the cloud. The particle _/2;r gives 
the cause of what was said at the end of the preceding chapter. 
He means, I have said that Christians must strive after baptism in 
their contest, lest they become reprobates and lose the prize, as the 
Hebrews, after their typical baptism and heavenly food, lost sloth- 
fully through their sins the land of promise, their prize, so that out 
of 600,000, Joshua and Caleb alone entered the Promised Land. So 
do you, O Corinthians, take care, lest, through your sloth, and a 
life out of harmony with your faith and baptism, you be excluded 
from heaven. So Chysostom and Anselm. The argument is from 
the type or figure to the thing prefigured. 

Our fathers, i.e., the fathers of the Jews, of whom I am one, as 
many of you are, O Corinthians. 

Under the cloud. This cloud was the pillar which overshadowed 
the Hebrews in the daytime as a cloud, and shone at night as a 
fire, which led them for forty years through the wilderness, which 
settled over the ark and went before their camp, and protected them 
from the heat by spreading itself over the camp. Its mover and 
charioteer, so to speak, was an angel. See Exod. xiii. 

And all passed through the sea. The Red Sea, and dry shod, be- 
cause Moses smote the waters with his rod, and divided them. 

Ver. 2. — And were all baptized ujito Moses in the cloud and in 
the sea. See Exod. xiv. The passage of the Red Sea is a type of 
baptism, in which we are reddened with the blood of Christ, and 
drown the Egyptians, viz., our sins. Moses is a type of Christ; the 
cloud is the Holy Spirit, who cools the heat of lust and gives us 
light. Theodoret says : " Those things were typical of ours. The 
sea stood for the font, the cloud for the grace of the Spirit, Moses for 
the priest, his rod for the Cross. Israel signified those who were 
baptized ; the persectitifig Egyptians represented the devils, arid Pharaoh 
himself was their chief ^^ 

Unto Moses as the legislator signifies, according to some, that the 
Hebrews were initiated into the Mosaic law by a kind of baptism 
when they passed through the sea. So we are baptized into Christ 


or iniiiated and incorporated into Christ and Christianity, by baptism 
Hence in Exod. xiv., after the account of the passage through the 
sea, it is added, " They beheved the Lord and His servant Moses." 

But our baptism was not a type of the baptism of the Heb- 
rews in tlic Red Sea, but, on ihc contrary, theirs was a type of ours. 
Moreover, in this passage the Hebrews were not initiated into the 
law of Moses, for they did not receive it till they reached Sinai. 

I say, then, that since the Apostle frequently puts into for w, it is 
more simple to understand the phrase to mean through Moses, or 
under his leadership. So Ephrem, Chrysostora, Theophylact take 
it. The sense, then, is : All the Hebrews were baptized by Moses 
spiritually and typically, or bore the type of our baptism, in that, 
when they saw the sea divided by Moses, and Moses passing 
through it before, they, as Chrysostom says, also ventured to trust 
themselves to the sea, and that i7i the cloud, that is, under the 
guidance and protection of the cloud going before them, and iti the 
sea, viz., in which the Egyptians were drowned, and through which 
they passed from Egyptian slavery to liberty and newness of life, just 
as we pass through the waters of baptism from the service of the 
devil to the Kingdom of Christ. So Anselm, Chrysostom, Ambrose, 

Notice, too, with Chrysostom, that the Scriptures give the name 
of the type to the antitype, and vice versa. Here the passage 
through the Red Sea is called a baptism, because it was a type of 
one. Hence ver. 6 is explained, where he says, ''These things 
were our examples." 

Ver. 3. — A7id did all eat the same spiritual meat. Not, as Calvin 
supposes, the same as we, as though Christians and Hebrews alike 
feed, not on the Real Body of Christ, but on the typical. 

You will say, perhaps, that S. Augustine {tract. 25 in Johan.) 
and S. Thomas explain it to be the same as we eat. I reply : 
They understand "the same'' by analogy, for the Hebrews received 
typically what we receive really. But this is beside the meaning 
of the Apostle, who understands the same to refer, not to us but to 
themselves. All the Hebrews, whether good or bad, ate the same 

VOL. I. p 


food, that is the same manna. This is evident from the context, 
^^ But with many of them God was not well pleased" that is to say, 
that though all ate the same manna, drank of the same water from 
the rock, yet all did not please God. As, then, they had one bap- 
tism and one spiritual food, so too have we ; and as, notwithstanding, 
they were not all saved, but many of them perished, so is it to 
be feared that many of us may perish, although we have the same 
sacraments common to us all. So Chrysostom, Theophylact, Anselm, 
and others. And notice with them that manna is here called 
"spiritual food," or mystical, or typical, because the manna was a type 
of the Eucharist. So the water from the rock is called "spiritual 
drink," because it was a type of the blood of Christ. Others take 
"spiritual" to mean miraculous, i.e., not produced by the powers of 
nature but of spirits, viz., God and the angels ; for of this kind 
was manna, of which the Psalmist says, " So man did eat angels' 
food" (Ps. Ixxviii. 25). 

I. Manna allegorically stood for Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, 
as is evident from S. John vi. 49, 50. Especially did it represent 
the contained part, and the effect of the sacrament, as Chrysostom, 
Theophylact, and Cyril point out at length, in commenting on the 
passage of S. John just quoted. Hence the Apostle says here : 
"They did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the 
same spiritual drink." Even Calvin takes this of the Holy Com- 
munion, and says that the manna was a type of the body of Christ. 
From this you may rightly infer that in the Blessed Sacrament the 
flesh of Christ is truly present, since manna was a symbol of a thing 
really existing, and not merely imagined ; for some of us as well 
as of the Jews will eat the spiritual meat, i.e., the typical and sym- 
bolical flesh, and will not have more of the truth signified than the 
Jews, nay, much less ; for manna was sweeter than our bread, and 
far more clearly than dry bread represented the body of Christ. A 
certain minister of this new flock has lately yielded this point as a 
clear consequence. But who does not see that it is at variance with 
Holy Scripture and with reason ? For the New Law is more excel- 
lent than the Old, and therefore the sacraments of the New surpass 


those of the Old. Therefore the Apostle says : " These things were 
our examples." But the thing figured is better than the figure, as a 
body is than its shadow, and a man than his likeness. Therefore 
the sacraments of the New Law, and especially the Eucharist, as a 
thing figured, must be more noble than the sacraments of the Old 
Law, and than the manna itself, which was but a type and figure of 
our Eucharist. Again, in S. John vi., Christ at some length puts 
His body in the Eucharist before the manna (vers. 48 and 59). 
The bread that He there speaks of is that which is Divine, conse- 
crated and transubstantiated into the body of Christ. Who does 
not see that the manna was a better representation of the body of 
Christ than bread ? It can be shown in many ways. 

2. S. Paul has most fittingly compared manna to the body of 
Christ in the Eucharist, and has most beautifully shadowed it out : 
(a) The element in the Eucharist and the manna have the same 
colour ; (d) the taste of both is sweet ; (c) it is not found except by 
those who have left the fleshpots of Egypt and the lusts of the flesh ; 
(d) to the covetous and to infidels both turn to worms and bring 
condemnation ; (1?) the manna was not given till after the passing 
of the Red Sea — the Eucharist is not given till after baptism ; 
(/) after the manna came, the Hebrews fought with Amalek, but 
before that God alone had fought for them against the Egyptians. 
They fought and conquered ; so the obstacles and temptations which 
beset the heavenly life are allowed by God to trouble those only 
who are fortified against them, and they are overcome by the power 
of the Eucharist, (g) The manna was bread made by angels, with- 
out seed, or ploughing, or any human toil ; so the body of Christ 
was formed of the Virgin alone by the overshadowing of the Holy 
Spirit. (//) Manna gave every kind of sweet taste to those who were 
good and devout. Hence Wisdom (xvi. 20) says of manna : "Thou 
feddest Thine own people with angels' food, and didst give them 
bread from heaven prepared without labour, containing in itself all 
sweetness and every pleasant taste." So Christ is milk to babes, oil 
to children, solid food to the perfect, as Gregory Nyssen says. (J) The 
manna was small : Christ is contained by a small Host ; (a-) the 


manna was beaten in a mortar : Christ was stripped of His mortality 
in the mortar of the Cross. (/) The faithful wonderingly exclaim, 
"Man-hu — What is this— that God should be with us 1 " (w) All 
collected an equal measure of manna, viz., one omer ; so all alike 
receive whole Christ, thougli the species or the Host be greater 
or smaller, as Rupert says. (;/) The manna was collected in the 
wilderness on the six week-days only ; so in our eternal Sabbath 
and Promised Land the veil of the sacrament will be done away, 
and in perfect rest we shall enjoy the sight of Christ face to face. 
{o) The manna melted under the sun, so is the sacrament dissolved 
when the species are melted by heat. More will be found in the 
commentary on Exod, xxi. 

Ver. 4. — For they drank of that spiritual rock that followed thern. 
The rock which gave water to the Hebrews was a type of Christ, 
who is the true Rock from which flowed the blood to quench the 
heat of our lust. But what is meant by saying that this rock 
followed the Hebrews ? 

I. The Hebrews reply that their tradition, and the Chaldean 
rendering of Num. xxi. 16, is that this rock miraculouslv followed 
the Jews everywhere in the wilderness till they came to Canaan, and 
supplied them with water. Hence Ephrem renders this, " They 
drank of the spiritual rock which ca?ne zvith them ; " and TertuUian 
{de Baptismo, c. i.x.) calls this rock their "companion." He says: 
" This is the water which flowed from the rock zvhich accompajiicd the 
peopled But farther on he interprets this rock of Christ, who in 
His Godhead accompanied and led the Hebrews through the wilder- 
ness. He says again {contra Marcion, lib. iii. c. 5) : ^^ He will under- 
stafid that the rock which accof?ipafiied them to supply them with drink 
was Christ." S. Ambrose, too (in Ps. xxxviii.) says : " There is a 
shadow in the rock which poured forth water and followed the people. 
Was not the water from the rock a shadoiv of the blood of Christ, who 
followed the people, though they fled frotn Him, that He might give 
them drink and quench their thirst, that they might be redeemed and 
not perish?" Again, S. Ambrose {de Sacramentis, lib. v. c. i) takes 
the rock to be Christ. He says : " // ivas no motionless rock which 


followed the people. Drink, that Christ may follow Thee also." But 
I should like to have better authorities for this tradition, for it is 
against it that after this water came from the rock (Num. xx. 11), 
the people murmured again because of the scarcity of water (Num. 
xxi. 5), and therefore God gave them a well of water (ver. 16). 

2. Others soften down the passage and explain it thus : " The 
waters which burst forth from the rock flowed for a lone; time and 
rushed forth as a torrent, and this stream followed the Hebrews till 
they came to a place where there was plenty of water. For had it 
been a supply to last but for one day, the rock would have had to 
be struck on the next day, and the third, and the fourth, and so on, 
to get a supply of water." And this explanation they support 
by pointing out that the manna is literal manna, and that there- 
fore the rock or the drink spoken are material rock and material 
drink; but the objections to the first explanation are equally strong 
against this. 

3. Photius supposes that the word for following simply means 
serving, and he would paraphrase the verse, "This rock satisfied the 
thirst of the Hebrews." But the Greek cannot possibly bear this 

4. It is better, then, to understand this of the spiritual Rock 
signified, not the one signifying. The meaning is then : By the 
power of the Godhead of Christ, which was the spiritual Rock 
signified by the rock that gave water to the Hebrews, and which 
was their constant companion in the wilderness, water was given to 
them from the material rock. It is so explained by S. Chrysostom, 
Ambrose, Anselm, CEcumenius. 

It may be said. By "spiritual meat" the Apostle meant manna, 
not the body of Christ, and by "spiritual drink" he means the 
water signifying the blood of Christ, not the blood itself; therefore, 
by parity of reasoning, the "spiritual rock" is the actual rock that 
typified Christ, not Christ Himself. 

I deny the consequence, for the Apostle in speaking of the Rock 
inverts the phrase, and passes from the sign to the thing signified. 
This is evident from his saying in explanation of the Rock, " That 


Rock was Christ." In other words, "When I speak of the spiritual 
Rock, I mean Christ." "W^hat can be clearer? For it was not the 
material but the spiritual Rock which was Christ : one was type, the 
other antitype. 

It may be urged again, that the phrase " They drank of the 
spiritual Rock," means that they drank the spiritual or typical 
drink, for the rock giving this drink was spiritual or typical. This 
would give the connecting idea, and the reason for saying that 
" they drank the same spiritual drink," for the rock was a type of 

The answer to this objection is that the sequence of thought is 
clear enough. The particle yt'r gives the efficient cause of so great 
a miracle ; in other words, the Hebrews drank of water which 
served as a type, for Christ was foreshadowed by the rock which 
gave this water, and He miraculously gave them this typical water 
in order that they might know and worship Christ giving it; but this, 
as the sequel shows, very m.any of them did not do. 

The rock that gave the water allegorically stood for Christ, because 
Christ, like a rock most firm, supports the Church, and was smitten, 
i.e., killed, by Moses, i.e., the Jews, ■with a rod ; that i?, the Cross 
poured forth waters, that is, most fruitful streams of grace, to the 
faithless of contradiction, to the faithful of sanctification. This is 
especially true of the waters of His blood in the Eucharist, with 
which He gives us drink in the desert of this life, that, strengthened 
by them, we may attain to our country in the heavens. See S. John 
vii. 37 and iv. 14. S. Augustine {contra Fausttwi, lib. xvi. c. 15). 

It may be argued : Some Catholic writers, according to the first 
explanation given above, say that, as " that Rock was Christ" means 
that it was typical of Christ, so in the same way it can be said of 
the Eucharist, that "this is My body " means "this bread is a figure 
of My body." 

But add that the Apostle expressly says that he is speaking of 
the spiritual, not the material rock. "They drank of that spiritual 
Rock," he says, and " that spiritual Rock was Christ." It is called 
a spiritual Rock, or typical, because it was a type of Christ. But 


neither Christ nor S. Paul speak then of the Eucharist. S. Paul and 
all the Evangelists uniformly declare that Christ said, "This is 
My Body," not, "This is My spiritual or typical Body." Secondly, 
I answer that that explanation of some writers is not a very pro- 
bable one; for that spiritual Rock, i.e., the One signified, was really 
Christ, not a type of Him. The words of S. Paul clearly say this. 

Ver. 5. — Tor they were overthrown in the wilderness. All the 
Hebrews who left Egypt with Moses died for their sins in the 
wilderness, except Joshua and Caleb, who, with a new generation, 
entered the Promised Land (Num. xiv. 29). 

Ver. 6. — As they also lusted. I.e., after fleshly pleasures, as, e.g., 
in the place which was thence called " the graves of lust," because 
the Hebrews were there slain by God, because of this lust of the 
flesh (Num. xi. 33, 34). 

Ver. 7. — Neither be ye idolaters . . . and rose up to play. Viz., 
when the Hebrews fashioned and worshipped the golden calf 
they closed their idolatrous festivities with a banquet. Thus they 
ate of the victims offered to their idol, that they might, after the 
manner of the Egyptians, celebrate the worship of this new god 
of theirs with a banquet and games. Hence it is said, " They rose 
up to play," ie., to dance and sing. For Moses (Exod. xxxii. 19), 
when he descended, a little time afterwards, from the mount, saw 
them dancing. This was the custom of the Gentiles after their 
sacrifices, and these games were frequently of a most obscene 
character. Hence the Rabbins and Tertullian {dejej. contra Psychicos) 
interpret this play of the Jews of fornication and uncleanness. They 
celebrated, too, public games, which, Tertullian says, were forbidden 
to Christians, as being held in honour of idols, and on the same 
level, therefore, as things ofi"ered to idols (See Tert. de Spectac). 
But presently the wrath of God came on the people, as they were 
worshipping the calf and sporting, and 23,000 of them were slain 
by the Levites at the command of Moses. S. Paul impresses these 
things on the Corinthians, because it was likely that they, before 
their Christianity, had engaged in such games and feasts, and 
had eaten of things offered to idols, in honour of their gods, and 



especially of Venus, to whom they daily offered a thousand maidens 
for prostitution. They were, too, much given to lust and impurity. 
Hence here, and in chap. vi. 9, he warns them against fornication. 
His meaning, then, is: See, O Corinthians, that you do not return 
to idols, nor eat of things offered to them, and so become partakers 
of idolatrous sacrifices ; and do not give yourselves up to games, 
to lust, and self-indulgence; otherwise, like the Hebrews, you will 
be punished by God, as apostates and idolaters, as gluttons and 

Ver. 8. — As some of them committed. When they worshipped 
Baal-peor, i.e.^ Priapus, and in his honour committed fornication with 
the daughters of Moab (Num. xxv.). 

And fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Chrysostom, 
Anselm, Cajetan, refer this to the plague which was sent because 
of the fornication with the daughters of Moab, and which is related 
in Num. xxv. But in ver. 9 of that chapter the number slain is 
given as 24,000, not 23,000. (i.) Some account for this by say- 
ing that on one day only 23,000 were slain, and 1000 on the day 
before. But this is pure conjecture, for Scripture says nothing of 
this. (2.) Cajetan explains it by an error of some scribe, who wrote 
23,000 for 24,000. (3.) Q^cumenius says that some read 23,000 
in Num. xxv. 9 as well as here. (4.) Others say that the Apostle 
is not wrong, because the greater number includes the less. But 
it is simpler and more natural to say that the Apostle is referring to 
Exod. xxxii. 28, where, according to the Roman Bible, 23,000 fell for 
worshipping the golden calf. S. Paul, if this be so, is not referring 
to the punishment inflicted on the fornicators of Num. xxv., but by 
a Hebrew custom he looks back to the idolaters of ver. 7. We 
must suppose that, having forgotten to mention the punishment 
inflicted on them, he now gives it as an after-thought : certainly in 
the sins he goes on to name he in each case adds the punishment. 
He does this to warn the Corinthians against such sins, and espe- 
cially because the worship of the calf and the lust accompanying it 
were exactly parallel, both in punishment and guilt, to the worship 
and fornication in the matter of Baal-peor. S. Paul's number agrees 


with the older rendering of the Greek in Exod. xxxii. 28. The 
LXX. now has 3000. 

Ver. 9, Neither let us tempt Christ by disbelieving His promises, 
as some of the Corinthians were doubting of the resurrection, as is 
seen in chap. xv. See 2 Pet. iii. 4. 

As some of thetn also tempted. The reference is to Num. xxi. 5. 
The words there, "against God," S. Paul here applies to Christ; 
therefore Christ is God. Hence the Greek Fathers say that the 
angel who appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and led the 
Hebrews out of Egypt, was a type of Christ to come in the flesh, i.e., 
of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. 

And were destroyed of serpents. See Num. xxi. 6. These fiery 
serpents are not so called because they were of a fiery nature, for 
this is repugnant to their true nature, but from the effect of their 
bite and the heat of their breath : these caused such a heat in those 
who were bitten that they seemed to be burning. Tiiese snakes 
are called by the Greeks by names (Praester and Canso), which 
denote burning, and are found in Libya and in Arabia, through 
which the Hebrews were then passing. 

Ver. 10. — As some of them also mi/rnuired, and were destroyed of 
the destroyer, i.e., the angel by whom God inflicted punishment on 
the Hebrews for murmuring, because Korah and his followers were 
swallowed up alive by the earth. Fourteen thousand seven hundred 
perished by fire (see Num. xvi. 30, 35, 40, 45; Wisd. xviii. 20; 
Anselm in loco). This angel seems to have been Michael, the leader 
of the people, the giver of the law on Sinai and its vindicator, and 
a type of Christ, as was said just now (see Exod. xxiii. 21). Others 
suppose that this " destroyer " was an evil angel or a devil, and refer 
to Ps. Ixxviii. 49. But the Psalmist is speaking of the plague sent on 
the Egyptians, but Paul of those that God inflicted on the Hebrews. 
Besides, it is truer to say that the plagues were inflicted on the 
Egyptians by good angels, not by evil ones ; for, as 8. Augustine 
says, when commenting on Ps. Ixxviii. 49, it is well known that it 
was by good angels that Moses turned the water into blood, and pro- 
duced frogs and lice ; for it was by these miraculous punishments 


that Moses and the good angels strove against the magicians of 
Pharaoh and the devils : hence at the third miracle of the lice they 
exclaimed, "This is the finger of God." The good angels are 
called, in Ps. Ixxviii. 49, "evil," as inflicters of evil. 

The Hebrews murmured very often in the wilderness, and nearly 
always were punished by God. He thus wished to show that 
murmuring and rebellion are worse than other sins in His sight. 
So, in Num. xi.. He slew those who murmured through fleshly lust, 
and the place was therefore called " the graves of lusts." In the 
same way all who murmured because of the report of the spies, 
who said that Canaan was a land strongly fortressed, were excluded 
from it, and perished in the wilderness ; and of 600,000, Joshua 
and Caleb alone entered it (Num. xiv. 29). So were Korah and his 
followers punished clearly and severely. 

Ver. 1 1. — Now all these things happejied unto them for types. Viz., 
all those here mentioned. We are not to imagine that everything 
that is related in the Old Testament is merely typical, as though it 
contained nothing which did not figuratively represent something in 
the New Testament. S. Augustine {de Civ. Dei, lib. xvii. c. 5) says 
truly : " They seem to me to make a great mistake who thitik that the 
things recorded in the Old Testam€?it have 710 meaning beyond the 
events the^nselves, Just as 7nuch as those people are very venturesome 
who cofitend that everything without exceptioft i?i it contains allegorical 

Gabriel Vasquez (p. i, qu. i. art. 10, disp. 14, c. 6) rightly points 
out that the word "figure" or "type" used here, does not mean so 
much an allegorical sense, or a mystical one, as an example which 
may be well applied for the purpose of persuasion. Thence S. Paul 
adds, '■'■they are written for our admonition.'" In other words, God 
punished the Hebrews that they might be an example to us, and 
teach us wisdom. 

Upon whom the ends of the world are come. That is, the last age 
of the world. The Prophets call the time of the Messiah "the 
last time." (See i S. John ii. 18.) Ambrose and Chrysostom add 
that the Apostle often speaks in this way, as though the end of 


the world was at hand, that he may keep every one in expectation 
and in fear of it, that so each one may be taught to prepare for it 

Ver. 1 2. — Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 
S. Augustine {de Bono Fersev. cviii.) says: "// is good for all, or 
nearly all, not to knoiv what they will be, that each one, from not 
knoiuing that he will persevere in good, may humbly and anxiously 
pray for the grace of God, a fid with it do all he can to watch agai7ist 
falling and to persevere in grace." 

Ver. 13. There hath no temptation taken you. The Vulgate reads 
the verb in the imperative — "let no temptation take you." His 
meaning is : Be it, O Corinthians, that you are tempted to schisms, 
lawsuits, lust, idolatry, yet remain constant, for these temptations 
which take you are common to man, and therefore you can easily 
overcome them if you like. 

If you take the Roman reading, the meaning is. When, as is often 
the case, any temptation of those which I have mentioned, or any 
other, attacks your minds, do not take it in and foster it, so as to 
let it grow imperceptibly in power, and to become at last uncon- 
querable : for it is impossible to exclude altogether human and light 
temptations so as to never feel them. Anselm says : " To be overcome 
by malignant temptation a7id to sin fro7n malice is devilish : not to 
feel its power is angelic ; to feel it and overcome it is huma?i." See 
also S. Gregory {Pastoral, pt. i. cxi.). 

God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tonpted above that ye 
are able. i. If God does not suffer us to be tempted beyond our 
strength, therefore much less, or rather in no way does God impel 
us to sin, as Calvin thinks. 

2. Nor does God enjoin impossibilities, as Luther thinks, nor 
does He even permit them. 

•;. It follows from this that we can be so strongly tempted by 
the devil and the flesh as to be unable to resist if the grace of God 
does not succour us, as Chrysostom and Anselm say. 

4. As a matter of fact there is no temptation so great but that 
it can be overcome by the grace of God. 


5. The best remedy, therefore, against temptation is prayer, by 
which we call down the help of God from distrust of our own strength 
(S. Matt. xxvi. 41). 

6. This grace is promised here and elsewhere, not only to the elect, 
but to all who duly call on God. See also decrees of the Council of 
Trent (Sess. xxiv. can. 9, and Sess. vi. can. 11). For the Apostle is 
speaking to the Christians at Corinth, many of whom were not 
elect, but some contentious, causing offence, and drunken (chap. xi. 
21). What is more, none of them knew that they were elected, so 
as to be able to apply this consolation to themselves exclusively. 

7. It is in the power of each Christian to obtain sufficient help 
to overcome all temptations and all sins; for God pledges His 
word to them to this, and He is One to be trusted, as the Apostle 
says here. His meaning is : no temptation can take you, except on 
j'our own side and by your own negligence ; for on God's side I 
pledge myself that God, who is faithful, will perform what He has 
promised, and will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are 
able, i.e, will not allow you to be tempted, except by human tempta- 
tion. Understand, however, that this is if you seek His grace and 
help, as is right, and co-operate with Him. " God, " as S. Augustine 
says {de Nat. et. Gratia, c. 43), and following him, the Council of 
Trent (Sess. vi. can. ii.), " God does not order impossibilities luhen 
He orders us to resist every temptation ; but when He orders, it is to 
bid us to do what we can, to seek help for 7vhat we cannot, and then 
He lends the strength." See S. Matt. xi. 30 and i S. John v. 3. 

S. Ephrem beautifully illustrates this saying of the Apostle as 
follows : '■'■ If 7ncn,'^ he says, '■'do not put upon their beasts more weight 
than they can hear, inuch less will God put on jnen 7nore temptations 
thaii they can bear. Again, if the potter bakes his vessels in the f re 
until they are perfected, and does not remove them before they are pro- 
perly baked and of the right consistency, and again does not leave them 
in too long, lest they be burnt too much and so become useless : ?nuch 
more will God do the sa?ne with us, trying us with the fire of temptations 
until we are purified and perfected ; but beyond that point He will Jtot 
suffer us to be scorched and consumed with temptatio7i " {de Patientia). 


But will with the temptation also make a way to escape. God, who 
suffers you to fall into temptation, will also make it turn out well, as 
Erasmus and Augustine {i7i Ps. Ixii and Ep. 89) understand it. He 
makes it good for you and your salvation, and will enable you to 
come out of it without loss, nay, rather victoriously and with glory, as 
Anselm says. 

1. The word translated " way of escape," according to Theophylact, 
CEcumenius, and the Greeks, means a happy end of the temptation, 
so that it turns out well and promotes the good of the tempted ; for 
God will either bring the temptation to a speedy ending, or not 
permit it to go on to the fourth day, if He knows that we cannot 
bear it for more than three days, as S. Ambrose says ; or if He gives 
it longer life He gives us the power of bearing it, as Ambrose and 
Anselm say. 

2. It does not signify atiy way of escape, but such a way as when 
a soldier comes out victorious from a battle or a single combat, more 
renowned and even with increased strength and courage. So have 
the saints come out of temptation. The Greek word then also means 
a progress. Not only will God make the temptation no obstacle, 
but a means even of advancement, causing an increase of strength, 
virtue, grace, victory, and glory, a more certain walk in the way of 
virtue and in the road to heaven. So Photius. 

That ye may be able to bear it. The Greek literally means, "10 
more than bear it," i.e., so to bear it that strength remains over and 
above to bear something farther. God gives such help that any one 
can overcome temptation with flying colours. Hence the Fathers 
often remark that men advance in virtue through temptations chiefly : 
the reason is, that no one can resist them, except by putting forth 
contrary acts of virtue strongly and intensely, and where temptation 
brings out such acts it strengthens and intensifies their habits. 

3. The righteous wins merit by such acts ; he seeks and receives 
from God an increased infusion of grace and all virtues. 

Ver. 14. — Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. Not 
only avoid the worship which is given in sacrificing to and calling 
on idols, but also abstain from eating things offered to idols from 


any feeling of their sanctity, as the heathen eat them \vhen the 
sacrifice is completed, either at the altars or in the temples. So you 
would share in their sacrifices, and would be thought to approve of 
them, and even to offer them. The Apostle is now going on to 
speak of the eating of things offered to idols. Chapter ix. was a 
long digression about a paid or unpaid ministry, about the Christian 
contest, the prize, and the competitors ; the earlier part of chap. x. 
has been about the sins and punishments of the Hebrews ; and now, 
after this long digression, he returns to the subject of things offered 
to idols, which was begun in chap. viii. The " wherefore " signifies, 
then, that he had written all that precedes for the purpose of warning 
them against idolatry and idol-offerings. 

Ver. 16. — The cup of blessing which we bless, (i.) That is the 
wine in the chalice which is blessed by the priest, and hence the 
chalice itself, containing this consecrated wine, does it not com- 
municate to us the blood of Christ? (2.) It may be called the cup 
of blessing, because it blesses us and loads us with grace, as Anselm 
and Chrysostom say. (3.) More accurately, it is called "the cup 
of blessing," because Christ blessed it before consecration, i.e., called 
down the power of God to afterwards effect a change both in the 
bread and in the cup (S. Matt. xxvi. 26). 

1. We see from the accounts of the Last Supper in S. Matt xxvi., 
S. Luke xxii., and here and in chap, xi., that Christ, before consecra- 
tion of the Eucharist, gave thanks to God the Father, and, as He was 
wont, lifted up his eyes to heaven, as is enjoined in the Roman 
Canon of the Mass and in the Liturgy of S. James. Hence this 
sacrament is called the Eucharist, or Thanksgiving, because it is 
the greatest act of grace, and consequently is to be received with 
the greatest thanksgiving. 

2. Christ blessed the bread and wine, not, as heretics say. His 
Father. And so Paul says expressly, "The cup which we bless." 
Christ blessed the bread and the cup, i.e., invoked the blessing and 
power of God on the bread and wine, that it might be present, both 
then and at all future consecrations, to change the bread into the 
body, and the wine of the chalice into the blood of Christ, when 


ever the words of consecration should be duly pronounced. Of the 
same kind was the blessing of the bread in S. Luke ix. 16. This 
blessing, then, was not the consecration, though S. Thomas thinks 
that it was (pt. iii. qu. 78, art. i. ad. i), but a previous prayer. (See 
Council of Trent, Sess. xiii. can. i). Hence in the Liturgies of S. 
James and S. Basil, and in the Roman, after Christ's example, God 
is prayed to bless the gifts, that the Divine power may descend 
upon the bread and the cup to complete the consecration ; and it 
is thence that we have "the cup of blessing," />., the cup blessed 
by Christ. 

Is it not the commu7iion of the blood of Christ? i. The com- 
munion, or communication, of the body and blood of Christ not 
only signifies that we receive the same body and the same blood of 
Christ, but also, as is said in ver. 1 7, we become one body and one 
blood. Therefore, the sacrament is not a type of the blood, as 
Calvin thinks, but it is the very blood of Christ itself, and is given 
to us in the Eucharistic chalice. If I were to say, " I give you a 
golden one," you would rightly understand that I did not mean a 
painted one. If I were to invite you to dinner, and a feast on the 
hare or stag caught in the chase, and instead of the hare or stag 
were to put before you on a dish a picture of the animals, should 
I not be acting ridiculously? — should I not hear myself called an 
impostor? Are not then the Protestants who transform the blood 
and flesh of Christ, which He declares that He gives, into a figure 
of that blood and flesh, acting ridiculously ? Are they not making 
Christ an impostor ? 

2. If this cup is only a figure of the blood, as the Protestants 
think, then we have not more, but less, in the Eucharist than the 
Jews had in the manna and the water miraculously provided for 
their drink. The Apostle, too, should have said that we eat the 
spriritual body and drink the spiritual blood of Christ, that is that 
which represents them, just as he said that the Jews ate the spiritual 
meat — the manna, and drank the spiritual drink — the water from 
the rock. But as a fact he contrasts the blood and the flesh of 
Christ in the Eucharist, as the reality and the thing signified, with 


the manna and water, as the figure and spiritual type, signifying 
the flesh and blood of Christ. Moreover, he calls the manna 
spiritual meat, i.e., typical, and the water, spiritual drink; but he 
calls the body of Christ in the Eucharist the body, and the blood 
the blood. Who, then, can doubt that, as the manna was truly a 
type and shadow, so in the Eucharist there is really the blood, 
flesh, and body of Christ? 

3. Theodoret, Theophylact, Anselm, S. Thomas expressly ex- 
plain this passage in this way. Theophylact says: "-He does 
not say the ^participation,^ but the ^ communion,^ because he wished 
to i?idicate something more excellent, viz., the closest possible tmion. 
What he really says is this: What is in the chalice flowed from 
the side of Christ ; and when we receive it, we have comtnunion with, 
or are united to Christ. Are you not then ashamed, O Corin- 
thians, to have recourse to the cup of idols, and to leave this cup which 
sets us free from idols 1 " 

S. Chrysostom most plainly dwells on this thought {in Ham. 24, 
Moral), where, exhorting Christians to mutual charity through Holy 
Communion, he says : '■'If, then, dearly beloved, we understand these 
things, let us also strive to 7?iaintain ufiity a?nong ourselves ; for this 
dreadful afid woftderful sacrifice leads us to this : it bids us approach 
one another with concord and perfect charity, and, like the eagles that 
Christians have been fnade in this life, let us fly to heaven itself, or 
rather above the heavens." And again a little further on he thus ex- 
plains what the body of Christ in the Eucharist is like: " If tto one 
would lightly lay hold of another man's clothing, how can we receive 
with insults the pure aiid immaculate body of the Lord, which is a 
partaker of the Divitie Nature, through which we are and live, which 
burst open the gates of hell and opened heaven ? This is tlie body 
which was pierced by nails, scourged, unconquered by death ; this is the 
body at the sight of ivhich the sun hid his rays ; through which the 
veil of the Temple was rent, and the rocks and the whole earth quaked ; 
this is the body which was suffused with blood, pierced by the spear, 
and which poured forth streams of blood and water to regenerate the 
whole zvorld:' And a little further on he says that the body of 


Christ in the Eucharist is the same as was in the manger : " Tliis 
body in the manger the Magi adored, and zvith great fear and trem- 
bling worshipped. But tJiou seest Him not in a manger, but on the 
altar. It is 7iot a luoman holding Him in her arms that you see, but 
a priest is before you, and the Spirit shed ahmdantly upon the sacra- 
ment spread forth. Let us, therefore, be stirred up and fear, and 
show greater devotion than ever those barbarians didP And after 
some other remarks he asserts most clearly that in the Eucharist 
we touch and feed on God Himself, and receive from Him all good 
things, saying : " Tins table is the strength of our soul, the vigour of our 
mind, the bofid of mutual trust, our foundation, hope, and salvation, 
our light and our life. Jftve depart fortified by this sacrifice, we shall 
zvith the greatest confidence climb the sacred hill ivhich leads to heave/is 
gate. But why speak of the future ? Bor even while ive are here in 
this life, this mystery makes earth heaven : for the body of the King is 
set before our eyes, oti earth, as it is in heaven. I shoiv you, not angels 
or archangels, not heaven or the heaven of heavens, but the Lord of 
them all. Nor do you merely gaze on Him: you touch Llim, you feed 
on Him ; you receive not a child of man, even though of kingly birth, 
but the Only-Begotten Son of God. Why, then, do you not shudder at 
such Bresence, and cast away the love of all worldly things ? " 

A new preacher of a new word of God has lately answered these 
words by saying that S. Chrysostom spoke rhetorically. But this 
evasion is as silly as futile ; for S. Chrysostom is, I admit, an orator, 
but he is also a teacher of Christian truth. Hence in his com- 
mentary itself, he says that he is treating of the literal meaning of 
the Apostle. It is true that in the application of his sermon he does 
enlarge on that meaning, but not so as to exceed or to deny the truth, 
as, i.e., if he were to say that wood is stone, that a man is a brute, 
that bread is flesh ; else he would not be an orator, but a lying 
impostor, and that in matters of faith. Eor an orator would be false 
and foolish who should say that the water of baptism was the very 
same blood of Christ that flowed from His side, when the Jews 
pierced His body with nails, and smote it with scourges ; if he were 
to say that it was the God and Lord of all, he would no doubt mean 

VOL. I. Q 


that the water of baptism is a type of the blood of Christ, who 
apphes it to us to wash away our sins. In the same way he is false 
and foolish who says that the bread and wine are the very blood, 
the very body of Christ, which was adored by the Magi in the 
manger, nailed to the Cross, scourged, and crucified by the Jews, 
nay, that it is the very Lord of all things, and the Only-Begotten 
Son of God, as S. Chrysostom says. I appeal to you, reader, to 
read these words of his candidly and impartially, or to say whether 
they are true of the manna, of the Paschal lamb, or of any such type. 
Would S. Chrysostom have spoken of them thus? Would Calvin, 
or Viretus, or Zwinglius, or any of their following, no matter how 
eloquent an orator he might be, speak of their supper in this way ? 
If it is lawful to sublimate and invert the meanings of authors and 
the words of the Fathers in this way, it will be lawful to invert all 
faith, all history, all the opinions of these men, and to twist them 
to a totally different sense. All this will better appear in the fol- 
lowing verses. 

The bread ivhich we break, is it not the com?ni/nion of the body of 
Christ 'I The sense is, The communication to us, or the eating of 
the bread which we break, communicates to us also the very body 
of Christ, so that each one actually partakes of it in the Eucharist. 

It may be said : The Eucharist is here called bread, therefore 
it is not the flesh of Christ. 

I reply that bread, by a Hebraism, stands for any food (2 Kings 
ii. 22). So Christ is called manna (S. John vi. 31), and bread {Ibid. 
vi. 41). The reason is that bread is the common and necessary food 
of all. Moreover, S. Paul does not say " bread " simply, but " the 
bread which we break," i.e., the Eucharistic or transubstantiated 
bread, which is the body of Christ, and yet retains the species and 
power of bread. In this agree all the Fathers and orthodox doctors. 
Christ, on other occasions as well as in the Last Supper, is said to have 
broken and distributed the bread, according to the Hebrew custom 
by which the head of the house was wont to break the bread and 
divide the food among the guests sitting at table. For the Easterns 
did not have loaves shaped like ours, which need a knife to cut them 


up, but they used to make their bread into wide and thin cakes, as, 
amongst others, Stuckius has noticed {Convival. lib. ii. c. 3). Hence 
"to break bread" signifies in Scripture "to feast," and breaking 
bread signifies any feast, dinner, or meal. In the New Testament it 
is appropriated to the Eucharist; therefore "to break bread" is 
a sacramental and ecclesiastical term. Hence S. Paul calls here 
the Eucharist "the bread which we break," meaning the species of 
the body of Christ which we break and consume in the sacrament. 
See further on c. xi. 24. 

Ver. I i.—For we being many are one bread, and one body : for we 
are all partakers of that one bread. As one loaf is made out of many 
grains of wheat, so of many faithful is made one holy and living 
bread, the one mystical body of Christ, the Church, not only gene- 
rally and mystically, but properly and substantially, because all are 
really united to the body of Christ, and become one with it, in the 
Eucharist, just as food becomes one with him that eats it. Hence 
it may be rightly argued against Protestants that we all eat really the 
same body of Christ. They, however, say that in the Eucharist all 
Christians become one, because they eat the same sacramental 
bread, which is a type of the body of Christ. But who would ever 
say of such a feast in common that it makes all who share in it one, 
merely because they sit at the same table and eat of the same bread ? 
It would be a statement at once untrue and foolish. 'It is, however, 
true when applied to the body of Christ, because we all feed on what 
is numerically one, especially because this holy bread, as S. Augus- 
tine says, when eaten, is not charged into our substance, but rather 
changes us into its own, and unites us to itself and makes us like 
it, which ordinary bread does not do. Here Cyril of Alexandria {in 
foan. lib. iv. c. 17) says: ''As wax is incorporated into wax, a7id 
leaven permeates through bread, so do we become fused into the body of 
Christ." And Cyril of Jerusalem {Catachesis, 4) says: "In Holy 
Commimion we become, not only bearers of Christ, but also sharers 
of the same body afid the same blood as He." This is because we 
become one with Christ and Christ with us, because we are really 
blended with the flesh of Christ, and therefore with His Person, His' 


Godhead, and His omnipotence. Irenxus says the same (Ub. iv. c. 
34), and Hilary {de Trin. lib. viii.V 

It is for this reason that the Eucharist is called Communion by the 
Fathers : it really unites us to the body of Christ, so that all become 
one in Him and with Him. " Co/nmunion" then, is the common union 
of the faithful, who, by feeding on the same true body of Christ 
in the Eucharist, are made one mystical body, the Church. So 
says Bede, following S. Augustine. Hence, too, the Council of Trent 
(sess. xiii. c. 8) says : " This sacrament is the sign ofufiity, the bond of 
charity, the symbol of peace and concord" no doubt because, in a 
wonderful way, it signifies and perfects the unity of the body of Christ, 
i.e., of the faithful of the Church. For this reason, too, the Eucharist 
was formerly given to infants after their baptism, that they might be 
perfectly incorporated into Christ ((pide S. John vi. 55). Again for 
the same reason the Eucharist was called by S. Dionysius, Synaxis, 
i.e., "congregation," because the faithful were in the habit of assem- 
bling in the church to receive the Eucharist. Tertullian even says 
{de Oratione, cap. ult.) that prayer should end when the body of the 
Lord has been received. The Apostle too, in the next chapter (ver. 
20), says : " Wheti ye C07ne together, therefore, into one place, this is 
not to eat the Lord's supper." For although the Church becomes 
the body of Christ through faith and baptism, yet this is done more 
truly and properly in the Eucharist. 

Heretics raise the objection that therefore only the good and 
righteous are parts and members of the Church, for the Apostle 
says, " We are all one bread ; " but bread, they say, is made from 
grains of wheat, not from chaff; therefore the Church is formed 
from the righteous, not from the wicked ; for the righteous are the 
corn, the wicked are the chaff. 

I reply (i.) that this does not follow, because a similitude is not 
bound to be in all points alike ; (2.) that the major premiss is false, 
for often chaff, grains of sand, lentils are mingled witli the wheat, 
and with it go to make up the bread. Hence S. Paul (c. xi. 29) says 
that even the wicked eat of this bread. But here he says that all 
who partake of this bread make up the one body of Christ, which is 


the Church : therefore the wicked, also, who eat of this bread are of 
the Church. Vide S, Cyprian {Ep. ad Magtitcm, lib. i. ; Ep. 6). 

Ver. 18. — Behold Israel after the fiesh . . . partakers of the altar ^ 
That is, of the victim offered on the altar, by metonymy. All this 
is meant to prove that things sacrificed to idols ought not to be 
partaken of; and the sense is: See, O Corinthians, Israel after the 
flesh : when they eat of the victims offered to God, are they not 
deemed to be partakers of the sacrifice offered on the altar to God, 
and to consummate the sacrifice, and in a sense therefore to sacrifice ? 
In the same way that they who eat of the Eucharistic bread are 
sharers of the Eucharistic sacrifice, are they who eat of things offered 
to idols sharers of idolatrous sacrifices : they consummate them, and 
in a sense sacrifice to idols. He proves, from the example of the 
Jews, that they who eat of things sacrificed to idols give their con- 
sent to such sacrifices, and tacitly sacrifice to those idols. 

Ver. 19. — What say I then ? that the idol is anything, &c. By no 
means : for the idol and that offered to it are nothing, have no 
influence or power. See viii. 4. 

Vers. 20, 21. — But I say . . . Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's 
table and of the table of devils. The table is the altar, which is, as 
it were, God's table at which He feasts with us. See Lev. i. ; Mai. 
i. 12 ; Ambrose, Anselm, and the Council of Trent (sess. xxii. c. i), 
where it lays down from this passage that the Eucharist is a sacrifice. 
For that the Apostle is dealing with the Eucharist and not with the 
sacrifice of the Cross appears plainly — i. Because the Victim of 
the Cross has passed away, and long ago ceased ; but the Apostle 
is here treating of a sacrifice of which the Corinthians were partakers 

2. From the phrase, "the Lord's table," i.e., the altar. " Where 
there is an altar there is a priest and a sacrifice, for the three are 
correlative terms. If, then, the Corinthians had an altar, they had 
also a sacrifice, and that of course none other than the Eucharist, 

3. " The cup of the Lord " can only be the cup offered to the 
Lord, for the cup of devils is none other than the one offered 
to them. 


4, From the context, and the h"ne of the Apostle's argument. 
which is this : As the Jews, when they eat of their peace-offerings, 
share in and consent to the sacrifice of them that is made on God's 
altar, so do those who eat of things sacrificed to idols share in and 
consent to the sacrifice of them that is made to idols; and so do 
Christians, when they receive the Eucharist, become partakers of 
the Eucharistic sacrifice, and sacrifice the Eucharist to God by 
the priest. It is consequently unseemly altogether that they should 
also sacrifice to a devil, which they do by partaking of things offered 
to idols, as a part of the idolatrous sacrifice ; for no one can at once 
sacrifice to God and a devil. Cf S. Augustine {contra Advers. Legis 
et Prophet, lib. i. c. xix). Chrysostom in loco, Anselm, Theophylact, 
CEcumenius, Ambrose, Theodoret say the same thing. S. Cyprian 
{de Lapsis) expressly teaches the same lesson, and confirms it by 
the numerous examples of those who, after eating of things offered 
to idols, came to the Eucharist, and were punished by God accord- 
ingly ; and he adds : " An eartJily comfnatider itnll not suffer any one 
of his soldiers toffy to the camp of his enemies and there to work ; how 
much less can God suffer His followers to take part in the banquets 
of devils V 

Notice (i.) that when the sacrifice was completed, the flesh which 
had been offered on the idol's altar was removed from it to a table, 
near the altar or temple, in order that they who had offered it might, 
with the friends they had invited, eat of it there ; for sacrifices and 
religious feasts were generally concluded with such a sacred banquet. 
Cf. the sacrifice offered by Evander and ^neas in A'irgil {^ncid, 
viii. 179-183). So, too, the Jews were in the habit of eating in the 
porch before the Temple of the sacrifices which they had offered 
(i Sam. ix. £3). So, too, Christ concluded the Eucharistic sacrifice 
with a banquet on it, and a distribution of it to the Apostles. 
Hence, too, in the primitive Church, all the faithful communicated 
at the Mass, that they might be partakers of the sacrifice, and con- 
clude it with such a banquet. Again, the heathen, who sacrificed 
victims to their idols, used, after the sacrifice, to carry home with 
them portions of it to give to those in their house, and to send to 


their friends, that so the absent might be partakers of the sacri- 
fice, as Giraldus {de Diis Gentium) points out from Herodotus and 
others. Similarly, the Christians in the time of persecution used 
to carry home the Eucharist, and even sent it to the absent, as 
a mark of love and communion, and to enable them to be par- 
takers of the sacrifice. Cf. Eusebius, IJist. lib. v. c. 24 and 29. 

Notice (2.) that the Apostle gives a plain answer to the question, 
whether it was lawful to eat of things offered to idols. He says that 
it never had been, nor was then, lawful to eat of things offered to idols, 
as such, or as being sacred to idols. He who so eats of them tacitly 
admits by the very act that the idol is sacred, has some Divine 
influence, and that, because of the idol, the flesh offered is sacred, 
because offered to a Divine being, which is idolatry. This takes 
place whenever such food is partaken of in such a place, in such 
a way, and under such circumstances, as that the eater is morally 
thought to eat it out of honour to the idol, as when the offerers 
sent portions to their friends with the intention of showing worship 
to the idol, when their friends received and ate them. Again, the 
case is still more clear, if you eat directly after the sacrifice, near 
the altar or the temple, together with those that offer the sacrifice, 
in presence of idolaters ; for then you are rightly judged to eat it to 
the honour of the idol. It is otherwise if afterwards you feed on 
it alone, and from hunger or greediness, whether it be at home or 
at the temple, because in that case you are not thought to feed 
on it as being sacred to the idol, but you are seen to be merely 
gratifying your hunger or appetite. It may be said, S. Augustine 
{Ep. 154, and de Bono Conj. c. xvi., and contra Faustuin, lib. xxxii. 
c. 13) asks whether a Christian, when travelling and pressed by 
hunger, may, if he can find nothing but some food offered to an idol, 
and if no one is present, eat of it, or whether it is better for him to 
die; and he answers. It may be said that it is cither known to have 
been offered to the idol or not : if it is known, it is better for it to 
be rejected by Christian virtue; if it is not known, it may be taken 
for his necessity without any scruple of conscience." Otherwise, 
as I have said, it is better to reject it, lest the eater should seem 


to have communicated with idols. He ought then to abstain from 
things offered to idols, if they are known to be such, 

I reply that S. Augustine does not say that he 7nust abstain from 
it, if he knows that it has been so offered. He says " it is better for 
it to be rejected by Christian virtue," implying pretty plainly that it 
is lawful to eat of it, but that it would be better and more noble if 
he abstained from it and preferred death. There is a parallel case 
in the Carthusian rule. One in extreme weakness is allowed to eat 
flesh to save his life ; but he will do what is better and more holy if 
he follow his profession and abstain and so die. Cf Victoria [Relect. 
de Teinperant. num. 8), Azorius {^Morals, lib. v. c. 6), and others. 
For he is not bound to save his life at all costs, but he may rank it 
below his vow, or rather the holiness of his profession, so as to give 
an example of virtue to others, and to hallow the discipline and 
rigour of his order. The Carthusians do not take a formal vow of 
abstinence from flesh, but merely have it enjoined on them by the 
constitutions of their order. 

Ver. 22. — Do tue provoke the Lord to jealousy 1 I.e., to anger. 
Do we set up a rival to the Lord ? Do we leave Him, our Bride- 
groom, and cling to a devil, and the things offered to him, or at all 
events wish to serve both, and yoke together God and the devil? 
So Chrysostom, Anselm, Theophylact. S. Paul is alluding to Deut. 
xxxii. 21. S. Jerome, commenting on Habakkuk ii., rightly says the 
unclean spirits preside over all idols, and answer those who call on 
the idols, and give oracular replies, and lend them help. 

Are we stronger than He ? By no means ; therefore our provok- 
ing God to anger will not go unpunished by Him. 

Ver. 23. — All things are laivful for vie. Viz., all things that are 
not essentials, such as to eat of things offered to idols, not as sacred, 
or as things sacrificed, but as common food. So far Paul has treated 
of things offered to idols as such, and has forbidden the use of 
them. Hence, in ver. 14, he 'bids the Corinthians fly from idolatry, 
I.e., the meats of ver. 20. But in this verse he passes on to the 
second case, when meat that has been offered to idols is partaken of, 
not formally as such, but materially, as mere food or flesh ; and with 


regard to this he says, " All thi?igs are laivful to ttie, but all things 
are not expedient,'' because all things do not edify. Materially, you 
may eat of things offered to idols considered in themselves, but if 
there is attached to such action the giving of offence, then you may 
not; see vers. 27, 28, n. Clement {Stroviata) well said: ''They 
who do zvhatsoever is laivful will easily sink into doing what is un- 
lazv/ul." Theophylact explains this verse differently, but his ex- 
planation is beside the drift of the context. 

Ver. 24. — Let no man seek his own, but every man another's ivealth. 
Let no one seek or buy flesh which, e.g., has been offered to idols, 
and which is useful and pleasant to himself, just because it is of 
a low price ; but in such matters let each one seek his neighbour's 
edification, and not to buy it or eat it, so as to cause him offence 
or spiritual loss. So Theophylact. 

Ver. 25. — Whatsoever is sold iri the shambles, that eat, askifig no 
question. Eat indifferently everything, whether offered to idols or 
not. Asking no question, le., making no difference, or according to 
S. Ambrose, making no inquiry ; according to Theopyhlact, without 

Herodotus tells us, as well as S. Augustine in the commentary he 
commenced on the Epistle to the Romans (c. 78), that the heathen 
custom was to send to the shambles whatever remained over of the 
sacrificed meats after the feast, and to give the priests the proceeds. 
In the shambles, therefore, they were looked upon as any other 
meats, as having returned to secular and common use. S. Augustine 
says: "Some 'weaker brethren at that time abstained from flesh a7id 
wine, lest they should zinknowingly partake of things offered to idols ; 
for all kinds of sacrificial flesh were offered for sale in the shambles, 
and the heathens used to pour out libations of 2vi?ie to their images, 
aiui even to offer sacrifices at their wine-presses." Hence the Apostle 
dispels this scruple, and bids them buy and eat freely whatever was 
sold in the shambles, making no distinction between meats, nor 
asking where they came from, as if it were a matter of conscience, or 
as though the flesh needed cleansing, if it came from an idol's temple. 
The Christians of Antioch followed this teaching of the Apostles, 


when Julian the Apostate endeavoured to force them into idolatry 
through idol meats. Theodoret {lib. i. c. xiv.) thus describes the 
incident : " Julian first polluted the water-spring with victims offered 
to idols, so that every one who drank of the water was infected. He 
then polluted in the same way whatever was offered for sale in the 
market ; for bread, flesh, fruits, vegetables, and all other eatables 
were sprinkled with this water; but when the Christians saw this, 
though they could not but grieve and detest the wickedness, still 
they ate of such things, in obedience to the injunction of the 
Apostle : " Whatsoever is sold in the shambles that eat, asking no 

For consciaice sake, as though you were bound to ask whether the 
meat which they wish to sell has been offered to idols, it being 
not lawful for you to buy and eat such. So Anselm, Ambrose, 
Theodoret. It is evident from this that Paul is not speaking of the 
fasts of the Church, or saying that on any day, even a fast day, it is 
lawful to eat meat which is exposed for sale in the shambles. For 
these fasts do not belong to the class of non-essentials, but are pre- 
cepts of the Church. Therefore S. Paul, in Acts xv., xvi., ordered 
the decree concerning abstinence from things strangled and from 
blood to be observed, though it was a mere positive precept enjoined 
by the Apostles alone. 

Ver. 2 6. — For the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof. Every 
creature, because it is the Lord's, is good and clean ; so, too, things 
offered to idols are not unclean, as you suppose, because t'ney have 
been offered to a devil, but are clean, because created by the Lord. 
So Chrysostom, Theophylact, Anselm. Theophylact gives another 
meaning as well : " Abstain from all food sacrificed to idols, for the 
whole earth is the Lord's, and you can be abundantly satisfied from 
other sources." But this meaning is not suited to the context, espe- 
cially, to the injunction, " Eat whatever is sold in the shambles." 

Ver. 27. — If any of them believe not . . . for cotiscience sake. ^' Do 
not seem," says Theophylact, "to be afraid of idols with too anxious 
scrupulousness, or excessive curiosity, but keep your conscience free and 
uninjured." For if you ask and are told that it has been offered to 


idols, your conscience will be bound, and will not allow you to eat 
of it. Hence he goes on to say — 

Ver. 28. — But if any man say Jinto you . . . for his sa/ce that 
shoived it. If any unbeliever who has invited you to dinner, or any 
other idolater tell you that the meat on the table has been offered to 
idol?, and is therefore sacred and to be religiously eaten, you cannot 
then eat it, for he will think that you are a partaker of his idolatry. 
Or if a Christian whose conscience is scrupulous point it out, thinking 
it unlawful to eat it because polluted by idolatry, do not then eat it, 
lest you cause him to offend. But if no offence could be caused, 
either to the faithful or unbelievers, it is lawful to eat of things offered 
to idols, even if they are pointed out and known as such. 

For conscience sake. Lest you wound the conscience of your 
brother that is weak in the faith, who is sitting at table wiih you, by 
inducing him to follow your example and eat meats offered to idols, 
when his conscience forbids it. 

Ver. 29. — IVhy is my liberty fudged of another man's conscience? 
Why should I use my liberty in such a way as gives offence and 
incurs condemnation by another man's conscience ? For since he 
is v/eak and untaught, he thinks that I do a thing to be condemned 
if I eat of idol-meats. But this I ought not to do. S. Ambrose. 

Ver. 30. — If I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for 
that for which I give thanks! Although it is lawful for me to eat of 
things offered to idols, through the grace of Gospel hberty, and give 
thanks to God for them, yet why should I expose myself to the re- 
proaches of others, that they should speak of me as an idolater or 
polluted by communion with idols ? From this verse it would seem 
to have been the custom of the ancients to ask a blessing before 
meals, and to give thanks afterwards. Cf. i. Tim. iv. 4, 5. 

Ver. 31. — Whether therefore ye eat, or dritik, or whatsoever ye do, do 
ail to the glory of God. 1. This is a matter of counsel, not of pre- 
cept, for we are not bound in every act nor in every virtue to seek 
the glory of God, tliough to do so is very meritorious. In the same 
way he says in chap. xv. 14: "Let all your things be done with 
charity." 2. If any one, with Anselm, Ambrose, and Cajetan, thinks 



that it is a precept, he must explain it to mean that all our works 
must be of such a character that they are likely to promote the glory 
of God, such that God may be glorified because of them, no one be 
offended, and the glory of God not injured, but all edified, and the 
glory of God therefore spread abroad. This second meaning is 
more suitable here, as appears from what has gone before, where S. 
Paul has been dealing with the duty of avoiding giving offence, and 
also from what follows in the next verse. For S. Paul is opposing 
the glory of God to the glory of devils, who are served by those who 
eat things offered to idols, in their honour, or when offence is caused 
to our neighbour ; on the other hand, they serve the glory of God 
who abstain from idols, and eat of such things and do such things, 
as help to promote the honour and worship of God and the salvation 
of their neisihbours. 

S. Thomas (iii. qu. c. art. lo ad 2) explains it differently; he 
says that it is a precept bidding us always refer ourselves and every- 
thing in general to the glory of God as their final cause. But the 
Apostle is speaking here, not of this or that act, but of that which we 
ought to do continuously. 

3. The sense will be more comprehensive if the verse is explained 
in this way : Study to promote the glory of God (which is a matter 
of counsel) in all things so carefully that you keep strict watch 
against doing anything which may be against God's glory, against 
giving in anything cause of offence, as, e.g., in eating of things offered 
to idols, lest God be reproached : this last is a matter of precept. 
For although this saying and counsel of the Apostle's is positive, it 
nevertheless includes a negative precept. Hence it does not follow 
from this that all the works of unbelievers are sinful because they 
do not do them to the glory of God, of whom they know nothing ; 
for, as I have said, to do all our works, and to refer them in act to 
the glory of God, is a matter of counsel, not of precept. 

Tertullian {de Corona) and S. Jerome {ad Eustochiuin) g'x'&itx from 
this the explanation of the custom of the Christians of that time, to 
sign themselves with the sign of the Cross at the beginning of every 
work, which was as good as saying : " Let this work be done to the 

ACTING TO god's GLORY 253 

glory of God. in the name, of tlie Father, and of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost." S. Basil (in Rcgul. Brev. Reg. 196) asks, "How does 
a man eat and drink to the glory of God;" and his answer is, that 
this is done when a man is mindful of the benefits bestowed on him 
by God, when he is so well-disposed as not to eat at all carelessly, 
but with the recollection that God searches him out ; when he makes 
it his purpose not to eat merely for the pleasure of satisfying his 
appetite, but as God's workman, that he may have strength to serve 
Him better, and to perform the commands of Christ. This surely 
would become not only religious, but all Christians and true wor- 
shippers of God. S. Basil again {Horn, injulittam Mart.), quoting 
this verse, says beautifully: " When you sit at table, pray ; when you 
eat your bread, give thanks to the Giver ; when you drink wine, thi?ik 
of Him who gave it to you to gladden you, and to strengthen your 
weak7iess ; when you put on your coat, give thanks to the kindly Giver; 
when you look up at the heavens and see the beauty of the stars, fall 
down before God and worship Him, who by His wisdom made all 
these things. Similarly, when the su?i rises and sets, whether in slcepitig 
or waking, give thanks to God, ivho created and ordained all these things 
for your good, that you might know, love, and praise the Creator." 

Ver. T^i. — Even as I please all men in all things. I do all I can 
to please them, that I may edify them and give no offence to any 
one, even though I may actually displease some who are ignorant, 
or jealous, or perverse. I please means here the desire of pleasing, 
the inchoate act ; and the Apostle therefore adds, " not seeking mine 
own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." 


lie reproveth them, because in holy assemblies 4 their men prayed ivith their 
heads coz'ered, and 6 tvomen with their heads uncovered, 17 and because gene- 
rally their meetings were not for the better but for the worse, as 21 namely in 
profaning with their own feasts the Lord's supper. 23 Lastly, he calleth thetn 
to the first institution thereof. 

BE ye followers of me, even as I also avi of Christ. 
2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and 
keep the ordinances, as I delivered the?n to you. 

3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ ; and the 
ead of the woman is the man ; and the head of Christ is God. 

4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth 
his head. 

5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered 
dishonoureth her head : for tliat is even all one as if she were shaven. 

6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn : but if it be a shame 
for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 

7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasumch as he is the image 
and glory of God : but the woman is the glory of the man. 

8 For the man is not of the woman ; but the woman of the man. 

9 Neither was the man created for the woman ; but the woman for the man. 

10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the 

1 1 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman 
without the man, in the Lord. 

12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman ; 
but all things of God. 

13 Judge in yourselves : is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 

14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a 
shame unto him ? 

15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her : hr her hair is given 
her for a covering. 

16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the 
churches of God. 

17 Now in this that I declare icnto you I praise you not, that ye come together 
not for the better, but for the worse, 

18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be 
divisions among you ; and I partly believe it. 

19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved 
may be made manifest among you, 



20 Wlicn ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the 
Lord's supper. 

21 For in eating every one taketh before oilier his own supper : and one is 
hungry, and another is drunken. 

22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in ? or despise ye the church 
of God, and shame them that have not ? Wliat shall I say to you ? shall I 
praise you in this? I praise _j'^?< not. 

23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you. 
That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread : 

24 And when he had given thanks, he brake ?7, and said, Take, eat : this is 
my body, which is broken for you : this do in remembrance of me. 

25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, 
This cup is the new testament in my blood : this do ye, as oft as ye drink //, in 
remembrance of me. 

26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's 
death till he come. 

27 Wherefore v;hosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, 
unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of tlie Lord. 

2S But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat oitiiat bread, and drink 
of tliat cup. 

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation 
to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 

30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 

31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 

32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not 
be condemned with the world. 

33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for 

34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home ; that ye come not together 
unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come. 


The Apostle proceeds to deal with the third point put before him, that of the 
veiling of women ; for the Corinthians had asked of S. Paul whether or no 
women ought to be veiled. He replies that they ought, and especially at the 
time of public prayer, and he supports his decision by five reasons: (i.) that 
womanly honour and modesty demand it (vers. 5 and 14); (2.) that they are 
subject to men (vers. 7 et seq.) ; (3.) that if they go forth with uncovered head 
they offend the angels (ver. 10); (4.) that nature has given them hair for a 
covering (ver. 15) ; (5.) that this is the custom of the Church (ver. 16). 

The second part of the chapter (ver. 17) treats of the Eucharist, and in this 
he censures as an abuse that in the agapce, or common meal, the rich excluded 
the poor, and sat apart by themselves, giving themselves to self-indulgence and 
drunkenness. Then (ver. 23) he gives an account of the institution of the 
I'Aicharist by Christ, and declares the guilt and jiunishment of those who approach 
it unworthily, and bids each one examine himself before he approach to it. 


Ver. I. — Be ye followers of vie^ even as also I am of Christ. 
This is a continuation of the preceding chapter. Imitate me, O 
Corinthians, in that, as I said, I do not seek my own advantage 
but that of many, that they may be saved ; and in this I imitate the 
zeal of Christ, who sought not His own good but our salvation, and 
to gain it descended from heaven to earth, took our flesh, toiled, 
and gave Himself to the death of the Cross. 

\'er. 2. — No'cu I praise you, brethren, that ye rememher me iti all 
things. He here passes on and paves the way for a fresh ques- 
tion. In the following verses he proceeds to censure the abuses of 
the Corinthians in suffering their women to go unveiled, and in ap- 
proaching the Eucharist when full of wine and mutual discords, and 
according to his custom he softens his rebuke that the Corinthians 
may take it the more readily and kindly, in the same way that 
physicians sugar their pills. He says, therefore, "I praise you that 
ye remember me in all things," which, as Erasmus says, means "that 
ye keep in memory all my things," or, as Euthymius says, "that ye 
are mindful of everything that belongs to me." Supply "precepts, 
teachings, or exhortations " after " all." All these precepts, &c., must 
be understood with some limitation, and must mean that most of 
them were kept by the better sort of the Corinthians, for in other 
parts of this Epistle he censures some faults of the Corinthians, and 
especially in this chapter their abuse of the Eucharist, as a departure 
from the ordinance of Christ and His own precepts. 

As I delivered theni to you. — ^The Greek gives, when translated 
literally, as even Beza admits, " Ye keep the traditions as I delivered 
them to you." Hence, since these traditions were not committed 
to writing by the Apostles, for no previous letter to the Corinthians 
containing a record of them is extant, it plainly follows that not every- 
thing which concerns faith and morals has been written down in Holy 
Scripture, and that S. Paul and the other Apostles delivered many 
things by word of mouth. This is even more clearly stated in vers. 
23 and 34. It is evident, moreover, from the fact that before that 
had been written which S. Paul here writes about the Eucharist, 
<S:c., the Corinthians were bound to obey the precepts respecting 


them given by Christ and S. Paul, as he says himself in ver. 23. 
The law preserved in tradition binds equally with the written law. 
So Chrysostom, Theophylact, and others. 

Ver. 3. — -But I would have yoiiknozu^ that . . . the head of Christ is 
God. S. Paul here lays the foundation for his precepts about the 
veiling of women. We must bear in mind that the Corinthian 
women were greatly given, not only to lust, but also to the worship 
of Venus, so much so that a thousand maidens \vere every day 
exposed as prostitutes at her temple and in her honour. (Cf. notes 
to chap. vi. at the end.) Moreover, they thought this to be to their 
own honour and an act of piety, and they hoped to conciliate the 
goddess in this way to bestow u[)on them and their daughters, or 
to continue to them, a happy marriage. They were consequently 
wanton, and forward to attract lovers by exposing their features and 
displaying their form ; and this was regarded at Corinth as a custom 
honourable, becoming, and elegant, and Christian women thought 
that they ought to retain the custom of tlieir fathers. Some of the 
Corinthians whose minds were of a higher cast advised S. Paul of 
this fact, and put to him the question whether it was lawful or 
becoming for Christian women to go about with uncovered head, 
and especially in the Church. Paul replies that it is neither be- 
coming nor lawful, and he begins here to give his reasons. The 
fust is that the woman is subject to the man as her head, therefore 
she ought to be veiled ; again, man is subject to God as His image, 
and therefore he is not to be veiled. In vers. 7 and 10 he proves 
both conclusions. 

Head here has the meaning of lord, superior, or ruler. So God, 
as being of a higher nature, is the head and ruler of Christ as man ; 
while Christ, as being of the same nature with the Church, is her 
Head, and that, as S. Thomas says, in four ways : (i.) by reason of 
conformity of nature with other men, for Christ as man is the Head 
of the Church; (2.) by reason of the perfection of His graces; 
(3.) by reason of His exaltation above every creature; (4.) by 
reason of His power over all, and especially over the Church. So 
the man, S. Thomas says, is head of the woman in four ways : 

VOL. I. R 


(i.) He is more perfect than the woman, not only physically, inas- 
much as woman is but man with a difference, but also in regard to 
mental vigour, according to Eccles. vii. 28: "One man among a 
thousand have I found ; but a woman among all those have I 
not found." (3.) Man is naturally superior to woman, according to 
Eph. V. 22, 23: "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, 
as unto the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife." (3.) The 
man has power to govern the woman, according to Gen. iii. 16: 
" Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." 
(4.) The man and the woman enjoy conformity of nature, according 
to Gen. ii. iS : "I will make him an help meet for him." 

Vers. 4 and 5. — Every man praying, Szc. This is the second 
reason : It is disgraceful for a man to be veiled, and, therefore, the 
honour, freedom, and manliness of man require that he veil not his 
headj but leave it free and unconstrained. On the other hand, it 
is disgraceful for a woman not to be veiled, for womanly honour and 
modesty require a woman to veil her head ; therefore the woman 
ought to be veiled, the man ought not. The phrase, " Every woman 
that pmyeth or prophesieth," does not use " prophesieth " in its strict 
and proper meaning of uttering a prophecy or an exposition, but in 
the improper sense of singing hymns or psalms to the praise of 
God. For S. Paul is here speaking of the public assembly, in which 
he does not allow a woman to speak or to teach, but only to sing 
her part well when the whole congregation sings. Prophet means 
singer in i Chron. xxv. i, and in i Sam. x. 10. So Saul is said to 
have been among the prophets, that is among the singers of praises 
to God. So in the Books of Kings those are called prophets who 
served God with praises. 

Some explain " that prophesieth " to mean " that hears prophecy ; " 
but " prophecy " has never this passive meaning. Moreover, the 
Apostle here means any woman, whether unmarried, virgin, married, 
or unchaste. He bids all alike to go veiled. So TertuUian (de Vel. 
Virg. c. 4 and 5) lays down, and adds that the Corinthians under- 
stood this to be S. Paul's meaning, for up to that time, he says, 
they follow S. Paul's injunction, and veil their wives and daughters. 


Ver. 6. — For if a woman be not covered, let her also be shorn. For 
here is not causal, but an emphatic continuative. It is as disgraceful for 
a woman to have her bead uncovered as to have her haii cut short or 
cut off. Heretics infer from this that it is wrong for religious virgins 
to be shorn ; but I deny that it follows ; for the Apostle is speaking 
in general of women living in the world, especially of married women, 
who are seen in public in the temple : he is not speaking of religious 
who have left the world. These latter rightly despoil themselves of 
their hair, to show (i.) that they contemn all the pomp of the world, 
(2.) that they have no husband but Clnist. This was the custom at 
the time of S. Jerome, as he says {Ep. 48 ad Sabiti.). The Nazarites 
did the same (Num. vi. 5). 

It may be urged that the Council of Gangra (can. 17) forbids 
virgins to be shorn under pretext of religion. I reply from Sozomen 
{lib. iii. c. 13) that this canon does not refer to religious, but to 
heretical women, who left their husbands and against their will cut 
off their hair, in the name of religion, and donned man's dress. 

It is these that the Council excommunicates, as Baronius rightly 
points out {Annals, vol. iv.). Add to this that religious virgins wear 
a sacred veil instead of their hair. 

It should be noticed that, although Theodosius {Codex Theod. 
lib. 27, de Epis. et Cler.) forbade virgins to be shorn in the West, 
that is to say, younger women not living within the walls of a 
monastery, but wishing to profess a religious life of chastity in the 
world, his reason was to prevent scandal, which would be caused 
if, as sometimes was the case, they happened to fall away into the 
ordinary secular life. This actually happened in the very same 
year that this law was passed by Theodosius, as Baronius has well 
pointed out {Annals, a.d. 390). Sozomen, too {lib. vii. c. 26), gives 
the same reason for its being passed. A young matron at Con- 
stantinople, and of noble birth, and a deaconness, had been, it would 
seem, seduced by a deacon ; and when, according to custom, by the 
order of her confessor she was making a public confession of certain 
sins, she proceeded to confess also this sin of fornication to the 
great scandal of the people ; and because of this Nectarius abolished 


public confession and the office of ]:ub'ic penitentiary. Still it has 
ever been the common practice of the Church that virgins, when 
taking vows of religion, should be shorn. S. Jerome {Ep. 48) says 
that in Kgypt and Syria women who had dedicated themselves to 
God were accustomed to cut off their hair. He says : " // is the 
custom of the monasteries in Egypt and Syria, that both virgin and 
ividow who have voived themselves to God, a?id have retiounced and 
trodden Jtnder foot all the delights of the world, should offer their hair 
to be ait of, and afterwards live, not 7C'ith head uncovered, which is 
forbidden by the Apostle, but with their heads both tied round and 
veiled." Palladius {in Lausiacd) is our authority for saying that the 
Tabeunesiotse, an order of sacred virgins founded by S. Pachomius 
in obedience to the command of an angel, did the same. Moreover, 
S. Basil {in Reg. Monach.) prescribes, that at the very beginning of 
the monastic life the head should be shaven, for he says that this 
well becomes him who is mourning for his sins. 

Ver. 7. — For a ma}i indeed ought not to cover his head, inasmuch as 
he is the image and glory of God. This is a hendiadys, for man 
is the image of the glory of God, or the glorious image of God, in 
whom the majesty and power of God shine forth most clearly. He 
is placed on the topmost step in nature, and is as it were God's 
vicegerent, ruling everything. This is the major of a syllogism of 
which the minor is : but the glory of God must be manifested, 
the glory of man hidden. Therefore, since woman is the glory of 
the man, the man of God, it follows that woman should be veiled, 
that the man should not. S. Anicetus {Ep. ad Episc. GallicB) takes 
this verse of the Apostle chiefly of men in the ranks of the clergy, 
and of priests in particular, who, in obedience to S. Paul, ought not 
only to have their heads uncovered, but also a tonsure in the shape 
of a crown, as S. Peter had (Bede, Hist. Ang. lib. v. c. 23, and 
Greg, of Tours, de Glor. Conf. c. xxvii.), to represent Christ's crown 
of thorns and the contumely endured by S. Peter and his fellow- 
Apostles, from which they expect a crown of glory in the heavens. 

It should be remarked that in the Old Testament the high-priest 
offered sacrifices with bare feet and covered head, i.e., wearing his 


mitre (Exod. xxviii. 37), but in the New Testament tlie priests offer 
the sacrifice of the Mass wiih their feet shod and with uncovered 
head. Epiphanius says {ILcres. 80) that, in the New Testament, 
Christ, who is our Head, is conspicuous and manifest to us, but was 
veiled and hidden from the Jews in the Old Law. However, the 
Apostle is evidently referring here to all men in general, not to the 
clergy only. 

It is not contiary to this precept of the Apostle for our priests, 
when they celebrate, to use the amice among the other vestments, 
for they do not cover the head with it while sacrificing, but only 
use it round the opening in the chasuble (Rupert, de Div. Off. 
lib. i. c. 10). The amice is not used, then, to cover the iiead, but 
to represent the ephod of the high-priest under the Old Law, as 
Alcuin and Rabanus say, or to signify the veil with which the Jews 
bound the eyes of Christ (S. Matt. xxvi. 67). Cf. Do/n. Soto, lib. iv. 
dist. 13, qu. 2, art. 4, and Hugh Vict, de Sacr. lib. ii. c. 4. 

But S. Paul wishes to abolish the heathen custom, first instituted, 
say Plutarch and Servius, by /Eneas, of sacrificing and making 
supplication to their gods with veiled head. TertuUian (/// Apol.) 
remarked this distinction between Christians and heathen, and Varro 
{de Ling. Lat. lib. iv.) records that the Roman women, when sacrific- 
ing, had their heads veiled in the same way. 

But the wo7na>i is the glory of the man. Woman was made of 
man to his glory, as his workmanship and image ; therefore she is 
subject to him, and should be veiled, in token of her subordination. 

The woman, that is the wife, is the glory of the man, his glorious 
image, because God formed Eve out of the man, in his likeness, so 
that the image niight represent the man, as a copy the model. This 
image is seen in the mind and reason, inasmuch as the woman, 
like the man, is endowed with a rational soul, with intellect, will, 
memory, liberty, and is, equally with the man, capable of every 
degree of wisdom, grace, and glory. The woman, therefore, is the 
image of the man, but only improperly ; for tiie woman, as regards 
the rational soul, is man's ecjual, and both man and woman have been 
made in the image of Ciod ; but the woman was made from the man. 


after him, and is inferior to him, and created hke him merely. 
Hence the Apostle does not say that " the woman is the image of 
the man," but only "the woman is the glory of the man." The 
reason is no doubt the one that Salmeron has pointed out, that 
woman is a notable ornament of man, as given to him for a means 
to propagate children and govern his family, and as the material 
over which he may exercise his jurisdiction and dominion. For 
man's dominion not only extends to inanimate things and brute 
animals, but also to rational beings, viz., to women and wives. 

"Vers. 8, 9. — For the tnan is not of the woman . . . but the woman 
for the man. By two reasons he proves that the woman is the glory 
of man as her head — (1.) that woman is of later date than man, pro- 
duced from him, and consequently man is the source and principle 
from which woman sprang. (2.) She was created to be a help to 
the man, the sharer of his life, and the mother of his children. As, 
then, man is the beginning from whicli, so is he the end for which 
woman was made. Hence the woman is the glory of the man,, and 
not vice versd. 

Ver. I o. — For this cause ought the woman to have power on her 
head because of the angels. There is no good authority for reading 
"veil" instead of "power," as some do. We should observe: (i.) 
Power denotes here the authority, right, or rule of the man over the 
woman, not of the woman herself. The reference is to Gen. iii. 16. 
(2.) Power, by metonymy, signifies here the symbol of the man's 
power, the veil which the woman wears on her head to signify her 
subjection to her husband's power, and to denote that the man, as it 
were, is enthroned upon and holds dominion over her head. Power 
here, then, is used with an active meaning with regard to the man, 
with a passive in regard to the woman ; for a veil is worn by one 
who reverences the power of another. As a bare and unconstrained 
head is a sign of power and dominion, so when veiled it is a sign 
that this power of his is as it were veiled, fettered, and subdued to 
another. Hence Tertullian {de Cor. Mil. c. xiv.) calls this covering 
worn by women, " The burden of their humility," and (de Vel. Virg. 
c. xvii.) "their yoke." S. Chrysostom calls it "The sign of sub- 


jection;" the Council of Gangra (sess. xvii.), "The memorial of 
subjection." (3.) From this covering it was that, by the Latins, 
women arc said nuhere, that is, caput obmibere, when they pass into 
the power of a husband. On the other hand, in the case of a man, 
a cap was the badge of the freedman, as Livy says at the end of 
lib. 45. Hence slaves who were to be enrolled as liable to military 
service, were said to be called "to the cap," that is, to liberty. 

Because of the angels, i. The literal sense is that women ought 
to have a covering on the head out of reverence to the angels ; not 
because angels have a body, and can be provoked to lust, as Justin, 
Clement, and Tertullian thought— this is an error I exposed in the 
notes to Gen. vi, — but because angels are witnesses of the honest 
modesty or the immodesty of women, as also of their obedience or 
disobedience. So Chrysostom, Theoph\lact, Theodoret, S. Thomas, 

2. Clement {Hypotypos, lib. ii.) understands by "angels," good 
and holy men. 

3. Ambrose, Anselm, and S. Thomas take it to mean priests and 
Bishops, who, in Rev. ii., are called angels, and who might be pro- 
voked to lust by the beauty of women with uncovered heads. Hence 
Clement of Alexandria {Peed. lib. ii. c. 10) thinks that this bids them 
cover, not merely their heads, but also their forehead and face, as we 
see the more honourable do in church. But the first meaning is 
the most literal and pertinent. 

This reverence that is due to the angels is the third reason given 
by S. Paul why women should cover their heads. It is especially 
to be shown in church, for angels fill the church, and take notice of 
the gestures, jjrayers, and dress of every one present. Hear what 
S. Nilus relates happened to his master, S. Chrysostom, not once or 
i\\ ICQ {Ep. ad A /last.). He says: "-John, the most reverend priest of 
the Church at Cotistantinople, afid the light of the whole world, a man 
of great discernment, saiv almost always the house of the Lord filled 
ivith a great company of angels, and especially whilst he tuas offering 
the holy and unbloody sacrifice ; and it was soon after this that he, 
full of amazement a?id Joy, related ivhat he had seen to his chief friends. 


' IV/teti the priest had hcgini^ he said, ' the most holy sacrifice, many of 
these p07vers iminediately descended, clad ifi the most beautiful robes, 
barefooted, and with raft look, and with great reverence silently pro- 
strated themselves around the altar, ufitil the dread mystery was 
fulfilled. Then they dispersed hither and thither through the whole 
building, and kept close to the bishops, priests, afid deacons, as they dis- 
tributed the precious body and blood, doing all they could to help them.''" 
S. Chrysostom himself {Horn, de Sac. Mensd) says in amazement : 
"^/ the altar cherubitn stand ; to it descend the seraphim, endowed 
with six wings and hiding their faces. There the whole host of angels 
joins the priest in his work of ambassador for you.'" S. Ambrose, 
commenting on the first chapter of S. Luke, speaks of the angel who 
appeared to Zacharias, and says : ^^May the angel be present with us as 
we conti?iually serve at the altar, and bring down the sacrifice ; ?iay, 
would that he would show himself to our bodily eyes. Doubt not that 
the angel is presettt ivhen Christ comes dozvn and is i/nmolated'^ S. 
Gregory {Dial. lib. iv. c. 58) says: " Which of the faithful doubts 
that at the mome7it of immolation, the heavens are ope7ied at the voice 
of the priest, that the choirs of angels are present in this mystery of 
Jesus Christ ; that the lotvest are joined to the highest, things earthly 
with divine, that things visible and irivisible become one .? " S. Diony- 
sius Areopagites {Coziest. Hierarch. c. v. and ix.), says that angels of 
the highest order preside over the ecclesiastical hierarchy and the 
administration of the sacraments. Tertullian {de Orat. c. xiii.), cen- 
suring the custom of sitting during the Mass, says : '■^ If indeed it is 
a mark of irreverence to sit down under the very eyes of 07ie whom you 
fear and reverence, how much more impious is it to do so in the sight 
cf the living God, while the angel of prayer is still standing 1 What 
else is it but to insult God because we are tired of praying ? " John 
Moschus {in Prato Spir. c. 50) lelates that a Roumeiian Bishop, 
when celebrating Mass in the presence of Pope Agapitus, suddenly 
stopped, because he did not see as usual the descent of the Holy 
Spirit; and when the Pope asked him why he stopped, he said, 
"Remove the deacon from the altar who holds the fly-flap." When 
this had been done, the wonted sign was given, and he finished the 


sacrifice. Metaphrastes ( Vita S. Chrys.) says that the same thing 
happened to S. Chrysostom, through a deacon casting his eyes on 
a woman. 

We should note (i.), that out of modesty and dignified reserve 
head-coverings were worn in the time before Christ by the women 
of Judaea, Troy, Rome, Arabia, and Sparta. Valerius Maxiraus 
{lib. vi. c. 3) relates the severe punishment inflicted by C. Sulpicius 
on his wife : he divorced her because he had found her out of doors 
with uncovered head. TertuUian {de Vel. Virg. c. xiii). says : " The 
Getitile women of Arabia ivill rise up and Jiid^e tts, for they coz'er, not 
only the head, but also the whole face, kaviiig only otie eye to serve for 
both, rather than sell the whole face to ei'cry wantott gaze." And 
again [de Cor. Milit. c. iv.) he says: ^'' Among tlic Jewish wojiien, so 
customary is it to wear a head-covering that they may be kno7vn by it." 
As to the Spartan women, Plutarch {Apophth. Lacon.) records that 
it was the custom for their maidens to go out in public unveiled, 
but married women veiled. The reason was that the one might so 
find husbands, while tliose who already had husbands might not 
seek to attract the attention of other men. But, as Clement of Alex- 
andria says {Fcedag. lib. ii. c. 10), that it is a reproach to the Spartans 
that ihey wore their dress down to the knee only, so neither are their 
maidens to be praised for going forth in public with unveiled face, for 
in that way maiden modesty was lost by being put up for sale. 

2. TertuUian {de Vel. Virg. c. ii.) blames those women who used 
a thin veil, because it was a provocation to lust ratiier than a pro- 
tection to modesty, and was borrowed more from the custom of 
Gentile women than of believers in Christ. In chapter xii. he calls 
those women who consulted their mirrors for evidence of their 
beauty, sellers of their chastity. Moreover, S. Justin, writing to 
Severus {de Vita Christ), hints plainly enough that Christians at that 
time abiiorred mirrors. In siiort, TertuUian wrote a ticali>e {de Vel. 
Virg.) on this very point, to prove that all women, married or un- 
married, religious or secular, should be veiled, any custom to the 
contrary notwithstanding, because so the Apostle enjoins. The Cor- 
inthians he says, (cap. 4), so understood S. Paul, and up to tliat time 


kept their maidens veiled. Moreover, the reasons given by the 
Apostle apply to all women alike, so that any breach of the precept 
ought to be censured and corrected. In some places, e.g., maidens 
go abroad with the head wholly uncovered, to show their beauty and 
attract a husband, when all that they really do is to peril the chastity 
of themselves and others, and to expose themselves daily to the wiles 
of panders, and hence we see and hear of so many shipwrecks to 

Let, then, a maiden be veiled, and go abroad covered, lest she see 
herself what she ought not, or others be too much attracted by her 
features. For those who have ruined themselves, or slain others 
through the eye, are not to be numbered, and therefore the greatest 
watch should be kept over the eyes. Hence Tertullian {de Vel. 
Virg. c. 15), says : ^'' Every public display of a maiden is a violation 
of her chastity^^ no doubt meaning that any one who walks about 
freely with roving eyes and exposed face, to see and be seen, is 
easily robbed of the purity of her mind. This very want of control 
is an index that the mind is not sufficiently chaste. Hence Tertullian 
goes on to say : " Piit on the armour of shatjie, throiv around thee the 
rampart of modesty, raise a wall about thy sex which will suffer neither 
thy eyes to go out nor those of others to come in." 

3. The head-dress of sacred virgins formerly consisted of a bridal- 
veil, of which Tertullian {de Vel Virg. c. 15) says : "Pure virginity 
is ever timid, and flies from the sight of men, flees for protection to its 
head-covering as its helmet against the attacks of temptation, the darts 
of scandal, against suspicions and back-bitings." He adds that it was 
usual to solemnly bless these veils, whence the virgins were said to 
be wedded to God. Innocent I. {ad Victric. Ep. ii. c 12) says too : 
" 77/^^1? virgins are united to Christ in spiritual wedlock, and are veiled 
by priests.'" These virgins lastly were clad in a dark-coloured dress, 
and covered with a long cloak. On the other hand Lucian, {Philo- 
pater) thus satirises the first dress of Christian men : " A sorry cloak, 
bare head, hair cut short, no shoes." They went then bare-footed, 
or at all events like the Capuchins, wearing only sandals. 

Ver. 1 1. — Nevertheless iieither is the man without the 7C'oma?i, neither 


the 7vonia7i without the man, in the Lord. This is to be referred to 
ver. 9, not to the words immediately preceding, which by some 
Bibles are rightly put in a parenthesis. Having said, in ver. 9, that 
the woman was created for the man, the Apostle, lest he might seem 
to have given to men an occasion for pride, to women of indignation, 
here softens the force of it by adding that in marriage neither can 
man be without woman nor woman without man. Each needs the 
other's help, and that " in the Lord," that is, by the will and disposi- 
tion of the Lord. Cf. S. Ambrose and the following verse. 

"In the Lord" may also be understood "in Christ, by Christian 
truth and law." The rule of Christian law and of God's ordinance 
is that the husband and wife give mutual help, procreate children, 
and educate them piously. This seems to be a reminder to married 
people of their duty to eac'n other, and of Christian piety. 

Ver. 12. — As the ivoinan is of the }nan, &:c. The first woman, 
Eve, was formed from man ; man is conceived, formed, born, propo- 
gated through woman : all is done, ordered, and disposed by God. 

Ver. \ A,. — Doth not eveti nature itself teach you? The Latin 
Version reads, " Neither doth nature itself teach you," i.e., Nature 
doth not teach that women should be veiled, but it does teach 
that if a man grow long hair, it is a disgrace to him ; if a woman, it 
is her glory, 

Ver. 15. — But if a woman have long hair it is a glory to her. To 
let the hair grow long is contrary to what becomes man, is the 
mark of a weak and effeminate mind, unless it is done because 
of ill-health or intense cold. Hence S. Augustine reproves some 
monks who wore their hair down to their shoulders, to gain the 
appearance and reputation of holiness (de Op. Motiach.). Again, it 
seems fitting for a man to pray with uncovered head, for a woman 
with covered, as the Apostle has proved here. The woman ought, 
therefore, to let her hair grow long, but not the man, for her hair 
was given her for her covering. 

Take note, however, that it is not absolutely enjoined, either by 
natural, Divine, or ecclesiastical law, that a woman should let her 
hair grow long and man should not. Hence, as was said in the 


notes to vcr. 6, religious women cut off their hair. On the other 
hand, the men of some tribes, lil<e the Gauls, used to let their hair 
grow long for an ornament. Hence we get the name of Gallia 
Comata. Homer, too, frequently speaks of the " long-haired 
Achaeans." The Romans, also, in ancient times, grew their hair 
long, and did not apply the scissors till the time of Scipio Africanus. 
Pliny says {Iil>. vii. c. 59) that the first barbers came into Italy from 
Sicily, A.u.c. 454. Lycurgus also enacted that the Lacedaemonians 
should retain their hair. S. Paul, therefore, is not laying down any 
rule, but merely points to the teaching of nature, that it is fitting 
for a woman, when she goes out in public, to go with bonnet and 
veil, but not for a man. Still, he here adopts the decency taught 
by nature, and wishes the Corinthians to observe it as if it were a 
precept, hence he adds — 

Ver. 16. — But if atjy tnan seem to be contentious. To be conten- 
tious is to contend for renown and victory, not for truth ; and here 
it is to contend that Christian women should not be veiled when 
they pray in Church, but should be bareheaded, according to the 
ancient custom of the heathen. 

Ver. 17. — A'ozv in this that I declare unto you ^ I praise you fiot, &;c. 
This is the fourth reason why women should be veiled, drawn from 
nature itself, which has given woman hair for a covering, to teach 
her that she ought to cover herself The Apostle says, "In giving 
you this precept about the veiling of women, I do not, at the same, praise you for coming together, not for the better but for the 
worse." What this means is explained in the next verse. 

Ver. 18. — For first of all . . . / hear that there be divisions among 
you. Observe the word " Church," which shows that, in the time 
of S. Paul, there were places set apart for worship. For the early 
form of churches, their paintings, use of the Cross, the separation 
of the sexes, Szc, see Baronius in his commentary on this verse. 

The Apostle here passes from the subject of the veiling of women 
to correct the abuses of the Corinthians in the Eucharist. 

For there must also be heresies among you. Looking at the fickle- 
ness, pride, newness in the faith, and quarrelsomeness of the 

TITE lord's supper 269 

Corinthians, who were saying, " I am of Paul, I of Apollos," which 
God permitted to prove them, it was necessary that there should 
be heresies. So Cajetan, Ambrose, Chrysostom. "Heresies" here 
denotes the divisions on points of faith and manners, which ex- 
isted among the Corinthians about the Eucharist, e.g., where they 
should sit, when the Supper should begin, about the food and 
drink, about the persons they should sit down with. In the Lord's 
Supper and the agapae, the rich Corinthians excluded the poor and 
had their meat by themselves. 

T/ia^ they which are approved may be made manifest among you. 
In the time of heresy and schism, we see who are built on the 
foundation of faith and piety, as here amongst the Corinthians was 
seen the patient constancy of the poor, who were scorned by the 
rich, and also the modesty and charity of the rich who hated 
divisions, and invited the poor to their feasts and their agapce. So 
Chrysostom, Theophylact, CEcumenius. 

Ver. 20. — Wheti ye cotne together, therefore, into one place, this is not 
to eat the Lord^s supper. When you come together in this way to 
the Eucharist and the supper of the Lord, your supper is no longer 
that of the Lord, as it once was; and your eating is no longer an 
eating of the Lord's Supper. You do not institute a supper of the 
Lord, who admitted to His sober and holy meal all the Apostles, 
including even Judas, but a supper to Bacchus or Mars ; for you 
come together to get drunk, and to exclude the poor, and so each 
one fills himself with wine, and the poor with violence. So Anselm, 
Chrysostom, Theophylact, Vatablus, and Erasmus read for " it is 
not," "it is not lawful," i.e., "it is not lawful for you to eat the Lord's 
Supper, and for this reason." But the first meaning is more thorough, 
more forcible, and better reproves the Corinthians. 

Ver. 21. — For in eating every one talieth befoix other his own 
sipper. (i.) S. Augustine {Ep. 118) understands this to mean that 
they took their supper before they came to the Eucharist, and that 
ver. 33 orders them to wait for one another at the supper be- 
fore the Eucharist ; because at the Eucharist itself or afier it there 
was no need of wailing, since it was not celebrated till all had 


assembled, when the poor would receive it mingled indiscrimi- 
nately with the rich. 

We must remark that, at the time of S. Paul, in imitation of 
Christ, who, after the common meal on the Passover lamb, instituted 
the Eucharist, the Christians instituted before the Eucharist a meal 
common to all, rich and poor alike, in token of their mutual Christian 
charity. This custom lasted in some Churches for several centuries. 
As late as the time of Sozomen, as he relates {Hist. lib. vii. c. 29), 
it was the custom in many towns and villages of Egypt, first to take 
a meal in common, and then, following Christ's example, celebrate 
and partake of the Holy Eucharist. The Third Council of Carthage 
(can. 29) points to the same custom as prevailing in several other 
Churches. The Apostle does not here censure this custom wherever 
or whenever it was allowed, but only the abuse of it by those who 
got drunk in this supper, and allowed others who were poor to go 
hungry. Hence he says, " One is hungry and another is drunken ; " 
and again he says, that a man will be guilty of the body and blood 
of the Lord who eats unworthily, i.e., in the mortal sin of drunken- 
ness and contempt of the poor. He therefore, in ver. 33, bids them 
wait for one another when they eat the Lord's Supper. He speaks, 
therefore, of the assembly which took place before, not after the 

2. Others, however, think that " the supper taken before " is the 
agape after the Eucharist. In the primitive Church, in imitation 
of Christ, the richer members were in the habit of spreading a feast 
for rich and poor alike after the Holy Communion, in token of love, 
whence it was called the "agape;" but as charity grew cold and 
the number of the faithful increased, the practice became abused ; 
for the rich would spread their own table sumptuously, even getting 
intoxicated, and would sit apart by themselves, the poor being ex- 
cluded or not expected, far less invited, as ver. 33 implies, and it is 
this that the Apostle here censures. Cf. Chrysostom {H0771. xxiii. 
Moral.), Tertullian (/^/^/. 29), and Baronius in loco. It was for this 
reason that the Council of Laodicea (can. 28) abolished the agape. 

But the former explanation seems the better for the reasons given 


above ; for the agape in S. Paul's lime was held, not afier but 
before the Eucharist ; although shortly after these early days, when 
the Church laid down that, out of reverence, the Eucharist should 
be received fasting only, the agape was kept after the Eucharist, as 
will be seen by reference to the passages of TertuUian and Chry- 
sostom, quoted above, and to S. Augustine {Ep. 118). By parity of 
reasoning this passage of S. Paul can be applied to those of the rich 
who celebrated the agape after the Eucharist ; for he censures 
drunkenness and pride in the agape, whether before or after the 
Eucharist. Wherefore some Protestants are wrong in twisting this 
verse into an argument against private Masses, in which the priest 
alone communicates, merely because no one else wishes to com- 
municate; for others are not excluded, nay, the Church wishes 
(Council of Trent, sess. xxii. can. 6 and 8) those who hear Mass to 
communicate. For the i\postle is not referring to this, nor is he 
speaking of the Eucharist at all, but of the common meal called the 
agape, as I have shown. 

Ver. 22. — What? have ye fwt houses to eat a?id to drink in? &c. 
Why do you put to shame the poor who have not your wealth, and 
cannot contribute the delicacies which you can to the common 
meal ? If you wish to feast and enjoy yourselves, do it at home 
among your equals, not in the church. For if you do it in church 
\ou sin in two ways: (i.) because you defile the church by your 
self-indulgence ; (2.) because, by neglecting and despising the poor, 
you rend the Christian Church, which is common to rich and poor. 

Ver. 23. — That which also I delivered tmto you. Not by writing, 
as I said before, but by word of mouth. This is one authority for 
the traditions wiiich, orthodo.x divines teach, should be added to the 
written word of God. 

Vers. 23, 24. — That the Lord Jesus the same night, &c. Five 
actions of Christ are here desciibed : (i.) He took bread; (2.) He 
gave thanks to the Father ; (3.) He blessed the bread, as S. Matthew 
also says (xxvi. 26) ; (4.) He brake it ; (5.) He gave it to His disciples, 
and in giving it, He said, "Take, eat ; tiiis is My body." These are 
the words of one who gives as well as of one who consecrates. 


Hence there is no foundation for the argument of Calvin, who 
says that all these words "took," "blessed," " brake," "gave," refer to 
bread only, and that therefore it was bread that the Apostles took and 
ate, not the body of Christ. My answer is that these words refer to 
the bread, not as it remained bread, but as it was changed into the 
body of Christ while being given, by the force of the words of 
consecration used by Christ. In the same way Christ might have 
said at Cana of Galilee, " Take, drink ; this is wine," if He had wished 
by these words to change the water into wine. So we are in the 
habit of saying, Herod imprisoned, slew, buried, or permitted to be 
buried, S. John, when what he buried was not what he imprisoned : 
he imprisoned a man ; he buried a corpse. Like this, and conse- 
quently just as common, is this way of speaking about the Eucharist, 
which is used by the Evanglists and S. Paul. 

Notice too from Christ's words, "Take, for this is," &c. that He 
seems to have taken one loaf, and in the act of consecration to have 
broken it into twelve parts, and to have given one part to each 
Apostle, and that each one seems to have received it into his hand. 
Hence the custom existed for a long time in the Church of giving 
the Eucharist into the hands of the faithful, as appears from Ter- 
tuUian {de Sfectac), from Cyril of Jerusalem {Myst Catech. 5), 
from S. Augustine {Serin. 44). Afterwards, however, it was put into 
the mouth to prevent accidents, and out of reverence. 

This is My body. Heretics say that this is a figure of speech, a 
metonymy, or something of the sort, and that the meaning is, " This 
is a figure of My body," " This represents My body." 

But that this is no mere figure of speech is evident (i.) from the 
emphasis on the word " This," and from the words, " My body and 
and My blood," as well as from the whole sentence, which is so 
clearly expressed that it could not have been put more plainly. Add 
to this that the words were used on the last day of Christ's life, at 
the time that He left His testament, instituted a new and everlasting 
covenant with His unlettered and beloved disciples, and also insti- 
tuted this most sublime sacrament, at once a dogma and a Christian 
mystery, all which things men generally express as they ought to 


do in the clearest terms possible. Who can believe that the great 
wisdom and goodness of Christ wouki have given in His last words 
an inevitable occasion for false doctrine and never-ending idolatry? 
— which He surely did if these so clear words, "This is My body," 
were meant to be understood merely as a figure of speech. If this is 
indeed true, then the whole Church, for the last 1500 years, has been 
living in the most grievous error and idolatry, and that too through 
Christ's own words, which Luther thought so clear that he wrote to 
the men of Argentum : " If Carlstadt coidd have persziaded rue that 
in the sacrament there ts nothing but bread and tvine, he mould have 
conferred a great hijidness tipon me ; for so I should have been most 
utterly opposed to the Papacy. But / am held fast : there is no way of 
escape open ; for the text of the Gospel is too apparent and too convincing, 
its force camiot well be evaded, much less can it be destroyed by words 
or glosses forged m so?ne brain-sick head." And Melancthon (ad Fred. 
Myconiuni) says : " If you tc?iderstand ' My body ' to mean ' a> figure of 
My body,'' ivhat difficulty is there that you will not be able to explain 
away 1 It will then be easy to transform the zvhole forni of religion." 
With Servetus, you Mill be able to say that Father, Son, and Holy 
Spirit are but three names of the one God, not Three Persons ; that 
Christ took flesh, but only in appearance ; that He died and suffered, 
but only as a phantasm, as the Manichaeans teach. In short, in this 
way who will not be able to say that the Gospel is the Gospel, Christ 
is Christ, God is God figuratively, and so come, as many do, to 
believe nothing at all ? Observe how the Sacramentaries open here 
a door to atheism. Cardinal Hosius most truly prophesied that 
heretics would in course of time become atheists, and that the end 
of all heresy is atheism. When they fall away from Catholic truth 
into heresy, and find in that nothing fixed, or firm, or durable, what 
remains for them but to abjure their heretical opinions and believe 
nothing, and become that of which the Psalmist sings (xiv. i), "The 
fool hath said in his heart, There is no God ? " Would that we did 
not daily see the truth of this. 

Again, not only Paul, but Matthew, Mark, and Luke record the 
institution in the same way and in the same words : " This is My 

VOL. I. S 


body ; this is My blood." Not one, then, cnn say it is a figure of 
speech, or maintain that one explains the other where he is obscure. 
Erasmus was convinced by this argument, and replied to the attempts 
of Conrad Pellican to convert him to Zwingiianism : " I have always 
said that J could never bring tny mind to believe that the true body of 
Christ was not in the Eucharist, especially when the writings of the 
Evangelists a fid S. Paul expressly speak of the body as given and of the 
blood as shed. . . . Jfyou have persuaded yourself that in Holy Com- 
munion you receive nothing but bread afid wine, I would rather under- 
go all kitids of suffering, and be tor?i linibfro/n limb, than profess what 
you do; nor will I suffer you to make ine a supporter or associate of 
your doctrine ; and so may it be )ny portioti ?iever to be separated from 
Christ. Amen" 

2. If in the Eucharist bread remains bread, then the figure of bread 
has succeeded to the figure of the lamb. Who is there that does not 
see that it is wrong to say that that can be ? The lamb slain under 
the Old Law was a plainer representation of Christ suffering than 
the bread in the New Law. Again, the lamb would have been a poor 
type of the Eucharist if it is, as Calvin says, bread and nothing else. 
Any one would rather have the lamb, both for itself and as a figure 
of Christ, than the bread. 

3. This is still more evident in the consecration of the cup : " This 
is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for you " — words 
which are clearest of all in S. Luke xxii. 20 — •" This cup is the new 
testament in My blood, which is shed for you." The relative in 
this verse undoubtedly refers to "cup." S. Luke, therefore, says 
that the cup, or the chalice of the blood of Christ, was poured out 
for us ; therefore, in this chalice there was truly the blood of 
Christ, so that, when this chalice was drunk from, there was poured 
out, not wine, which was before consecration, and, as heretics say, 
remains after consecration also, but the blood of Christ, which was 
contained in it after consecration ; for this is the meaning of " the 
cup of I\Iy blood which is poured out for you." Otherwise it was 
a cup of wine, not of blood, that was poured out for us, and Christ 
would have redeemed us with a cup of wine, which is most absurd. 


This will still more plainly appear from the next verse. Nor can 
it be said, as Beza does, that the text is corrupt, for all copies and 
commentators read it as we do, and always have so read it. 

4. All the I'A-angelists and S. Paul explain what " this body " 
means by adding, "which is given for you," or, as S. Paul says, 
"which is broken for you." But it was not the figure of the body, 
but the true body of Christ that was given and broken for us ; " 
therefore it was the true body of Christ that Christ gave to His 
Apostles. Moreover, S. Paul says : " Whosoever shall eat this bread 
. . . unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." 
Therefore there is here really " the body and blood of the Lord," 
and he who handles and takes it unworthily does it an injury. 

In short, the Greek and Latin Fathers of all ages explain these 
words of consecration literally. This was how the Church under- 
stood them for 1050 years, till the time of Berengarius. He was 
the first who publicly taught the contrary, being a man untaught 
indeed, but ambitious of obtaining the name of a new teacher. 
For J. Scotus and Bertram, who, at an earlier date, held the same 
views as Berengarius, were but little known, and were at once refuted 
and silenced by Paschasius Radbert, and others. This opinion of 
Berengarius was at once opposed as a dogma that had seen light 
for the first time by Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, Guidmund, 
Alger, and the whole Catholic Church. The error of Berengarius 
was condemned at a council held at Versailles, under Leo IX., and 
at another held at Tours, under Victor II., at which Berengarius was 
present, and being convicted, he at once abjured his heresy, but 
having relapsed, he was once more convicted in a Roman council 
of 113 bishops, under Nicholas II., and his books were burnt. 
Having again lapsed, he condemned his error in a third Roman 
council, under Gregory VII., and uttered the following confession of 
faith given by Thomas Wald. {de Sacra?/!, vol. ii. c. 43) : "/, Beren- 
garius, believe with my heart and profess with viy 7nouth that the 
bread and wine are chatiged into the true and real and lifegivin^ 
flesh atid blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that, after consecration, 
there is His true body zvhich he took of the J'irgin, and that there is 


the very Mood which flowed from His side, fiot merely by way of sign, 
but in its natural properties, and in reality of substance^ Would 
that those who follow Berengarius now in his error would follow 
him also in his repentance. The heresy of Berengarius has been 
renewed in the present century by Andrew Carlstadt, who was at 
once opposed by Luther. Carlstadt was followed by Zwingli, he 
by Calvin ; and yet there is no single article of faith which has 
such firm support of all the Fathers and of the whole Church as 
this of the reality of the body of Christ in the Eucharist. 

The same truth has been defined in eight General Councils — the 
First and Second Nicene, the Roman under Nicholas II., the Lateran, 
those of Vienne, of Constance, Florence, and Trent, as well as by 
many provincial synods. If any one doubts this, let him read John 
Garetius, who gives in order the testimonies of the Fathers for sixteen 
centuries after Christ, and of the Councils of each century, who 
alike unanimously and clearly confess this truth. He also brings 
forward the profession of the same faith given by the Churches of 
Syria, Ethiopia, Armenia, and India. Let him read also Bellarmine 
{de Eucharistia), who gives and comments on the words of each. 
Whoever reads them will see that this has been the faith of the 
Church in all ages, so that Erasmus might well say to Louis Beer : 
" You will never persuade me that Christ, who is Truth and Love, 
ivould so long suffer His beloved bride to remaifi i?i so abotninable an 
error as to worship a piece of bread ifistead of Himself." 

And here appears the art and ingenuity of Zwingli, Calvin, and 
their friends. They bring forward a new view of the Eucharist, and 
teach that in it there is not really the body of Christ, but merely a 
figure of the body. How do they prove it ? From the Scriptures. 
Well, then, let the words be studied, let all the Evangelists be read, 
let Paul too be read, and let it be said whether they support them 
or us and the received teaching of the Church. What else do all 
clearly proclaim but a body, and that a body given for us ? What 
else but blood shed for us ? Where here is room for shadow, or 
figure, or type? But they say these words must be explained figura- 
tively. Admit, then, that the words of Scripture do not favour you, 


for you say that the mind of Scripture is to be ascertained elsewhere 
than from the words of Scripture. How, then, do you prove that 
these words ought to be explained figuratively? If they are am- 
biguous, whence is the exposition to be sought? Who is to end the 
strife save the Church, which is the pillar and ground of the truth 
handed down to her from the Fathers? What save the primitive 
authority of the Fathers, the tradition of our forefathers, and the 
consent of the first ages of the Church ? We quote and allege the 
Fathers of every century, all our forefathers, the national and 
General Councils of each century : all take the words of Christ as they 
stand, and condemn the figurative interpretation. What remains, 
then, but to follow the plain words of Scripture, and the clear ex- 
position of the Fathers and of the whole Church in all ages ? And 
yet you obstinately adhere to your figurative explanation. What Scrip- 
ture supports you — whose authority — what reason ? You can only 
say that your heresy has so determined, and that you follow the 
trumpet of Luther. So I think, so I choose, so I will, so I deter- 
mine : let my will do instead of reason. This is the only ground 
you have for all your beliefs. 

Melancthon wrote far more truly and more soundly about this 
{de Ver. Corp. et Sang. Do»i.): ^'' If, relying on human reason, you 
deny that Christ is in the Eucharist, ivhat will your conscience say 
in time of trial ? What reason will it bring forivard for departing 
from the doctrine received in the Church 1 I'hen ivill the words, ' This 
is My body' be thunderbolts. JFhat will your panic-stricken mind 
oppose to them ? Jy tvhat words of Scripture, by what promises of 
God ivill she fortify herself afid persuade herself that these zvords tnust 
fiecessarily be taken metaphorically, when the JFord of God ought to be 
listened to before the judgment of reason V At all events in the hour 
of death, and in that terrible day when we stand before the tribunal 
of Christ, to be examined of our life and faith, if Christ ask me, " Why 
didst thou believe that My body was in the Eucharist ? " 1 can 
confidently answer, "I believed it, () Lord, because Thou saidst it, 
because Thou didst teach it me. I'hou didst not explain Thy wonis 
as a figure, nor did I dare to explain them so. The Church took 


them in their simple meaning, and I took them as the Church did. 
I was persuaded that this faith and this reverence were due from me 
to Thy words and to Thy Church." 

If Christ ask the Calvinist, " Wliy didst thou wrest My words from 
their proper meaning into a figure of speech ?" what answer will he 
make? "I thought that I must do so, for my reason could not 
understand how they could or ought to be true." — " But," He will 
reply, "which ought you to have listened to — your reason, which has _ 
human infirmity, or My word, which is all-powerful, than which nothing 
can be truer ? Reason dictated to the Gentiles that to believe in 
]\Ie as God, when born, suffering, and crucified, was folly. Yet you 
thought and believed that you should believe all this about Me, and 
you were persuaded of it from the words of Scripture only, which 
say this simply. Why, then, in this one article of the Eucharist did 
you presume to interpret what I expressly said, by the rule of your 
reason, according to the measure of your brain ? Why did you not 
bow to the authoritative exposition of the Church of all ages? Why 
desire to be wiser than it ? " What answer will he give — how excuse 
himself — whither turn ? Let each one think earnestly of this ere it 
be too late, let him submit himself to God's word and the Church 
with humble and loyal obedience, lest he be confounded in that day 
of the Lord, and receive his lot with the unbelievers in the lake of 
fire that burneth with fire and brimstone, lest he hear the words of 
thunder, " Depart from IMe, ye cursed, into everlasting fire." Nor 
let him marvel at such a wonderful mystery in the Eucharist, when 
Christ, throughout His whole life, was wonderful for His mysteries 
(Isa. ix. 6) ; and when Isaiah also says of Him (Isa. xlv. 6) : "Verily 
Thou art a God that hidest Thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour." 
If an angel should conceal himself under the form of the Host, he 
would be really there though hidden ; you would see, touch, and 
taste bread only, not an angel ; yet you would believe that an angel 
was hidden beneath it if an angel or a prophet had said so. Why, 
then, in hke manner, do you not believe that Christ is concealed 
under the Host, when Christ Himself, who cannot lie, says so? For 
God, who is Almighty, can supernaturally give this mode of exist- 


ence — spiritual, invisible, indivisible — to the body of Christ in the 
Eucharist. Let no one then faithlessly say : " How can Christ be in 
so small a Host?" Let him think that Christ is there, as an angel 
might be ; let him not inquire as to the mode, but embrace instead the 
wonderful love of Christ, whose delights are with the sons of men, 
wIto went about to pass from the world to the Father ; as S. John says 
(xiii. i), "having loved His own which were in the world, He loved 
them unto the end ; " and of whom says the verse of S. Thomas — 

" By birth their Fellovv-man was He, 
Their meat when sitting at the board ; 
He died their Ransomer to be ; 
He ever reigns, their great Reward " — 

that by His love He might compel our love in return, that as often 
as we see and take our part in these mysteries we might think 
of Him as addressing us in the words : " So Christ gives Him- 
self here wholly to thee; give, nay give again thyself wholly to 

You Avill perhaps object that the Eucharist is called " bread and 
fruit of the vine," i.e., wine, in S. John vi. 57, S. Matt. xxvi. 29. I 
answer that in the account of the institution of the Eucharist it is 
called bread by no one, if it is elsewhere, and also that " bread " 
there denotes any kind of food. (See note on x. 17) So wine might 
signify any kind of drink, as being the common drink among the 
Jews, as it is now in Spain, Italy, France, and Germany. 

But the better answer is that Christ applied the name "fruit of 
the vine," not to what was in the Eucharistic chalice, but to that in 
the cup of the Passover Supper. For, as He said of the lamb (S. 
Luke xxii. 16), "I will not eat thereof until it be fulfilled in the 
Kingdom of God," so of the cup of the lamb, "I will not drink of 
the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God shall come." For 
S. Luke plainly makes a distinction, not observed by S. Matthew and 
S. Mark, between the lamb and the cup of the Passover supper, and 
relates that Christ spoke of both before the Eucharist (xxii. 17). 
Christ simply meant to say that He would not afterwards live with 
them, or take part in the common supper, as He had hitherto done, 


because He was going to His death, as Jerome, Theophylact and 
others say in their comments on the passage. 

You may perhaps object, secondly, that the words, "This is My 
body " are a sacramental mode of speech, and are, therefore, typical 
and figurative. 

But I deny that this follows ; for this is a sacramental mode of 
speech, because, by these words, a true sacrament is worked, viz., 
because, under the species of bread and wine as the visible signs, 
there is present the very body of Christ. The words are not 
sacramental in the sense of being typical or figurative, for sacraments 
properly speaking signify what they contain and effect. For a sacra- 
ment is a visible sign of an invisible reality which it causes and effects, 
as, e.g., when we say, " I baptize thee," i.e., " wash thee," the meaning 
is not, " I give thee a sign or figure of washing," but strictly, " By this 
sacrament I wash thy body, and by this I wash thy soul from the stains 
of thy sins." So when we say, " I absolve thee," " I confirm thee," 
"I anoint thee," there is signified, no: a figurative but a real and proper 
absolution, confirmation, and anointing of the body and soul. 

If Christ, therefore, when He said "body," had meant "figure of 
My body," He ought to have explained Himself, and said, "I am 
speaking, not only sacramentally, but figuratively,"otherwise He would 
have given to the Apostles and to the whole Church an evident occa- 
sion for the most grievous error. The conclusion then has no basis 
that Christ is in the Eucharist as in a sacrament, that is, figuratively 
or typically, as the commentary ascribed to S. Ambrose says, in 
which it is followed by some of the Fathers, and that therefore He 
is not really there, but only figuratively ; the contrary should be 
inferred. Christ is not, therefore, there figuratively, but truly and 
properly ; for a sacrament signifies what is really present, not what 
is falsely absent. As, then, the conclusion is valid that where there 
is smoke there is fire, because smoke is the sign of the presence of 
fire ; and again this body breathes, therefore life is present in it, 
because breathing is a sign of life, so also it rightly follows that the 
body of Christ is in the Eucharist as in a Sacrament; therefore. He 
is really there, because the Sacrament and the sacramental species 


signify that they, as the true sacraments of Christ's body, truly 
contain it. 

You will object perhaps, thirdly, that Christ said (S. John vi. 63) : "It 
is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing ; " therefore 
the flesh of Christ is not present, and is not eaten in the Eucharist. 

3. I answer that it cannot be said without impiety that the flesh 
of Christ, suffering and crucified for us, profits us nothing. Indeed, 
the very opposite of this is taught by Christ Himself throughout S. 
John vi. 35-65. He says in so many words that His flesh greatly 
profits us. His meaning therefore is, as S. Cyril points out, (i.) that 
the flesh of Christ has not its quickening power in the Eucharist 
from itself, but from the Spirit, that is from the Godhead of the 
"Word, to which it is hypostatically united. (2.) That this man- 
ducation, as S. Chrysostom says, of Christ's flesh in the Eucharist is 
not carnal : that we do not press it with our teeth, as we might 
bull's flesh, but that we eat it after a spiritual manner, one suited to 
the nature of spirit, viz., mysteriously, sacramentally, invisibly. For 
you here eat the flesh of Christ in exactly the same way as you 
would feed on and appropriate the substance of an angel, if lie lay 
concealed in the sacrament. The opposite of this was what was 
understood by the unspiritual people of Capernaum, and it is against 
them only that Christ says these words. Hence He proceeds to say : 
" The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." 
In other words, " They are spiritual, and must be understood spiri- 
tually : you will not eat My flesh in the carnal sense of being bloody, 
cut into pieces, and chewed, but only in a spiritual way, as though it 
were a spirit couched invisibly and indivisibly beneath the Blessed 
Sacrament In the same way, " My words are life," that is full of 
life, giving life to him that heareth, believeth, and eateth My flesh. 

4. You will perhaps again urge that it seems impossible that Christ, 
being so great, should be in so small a Host and at so many diffe- 
rent altars, and that it seems incredible that Christ should be there, 
subject to the chance of being eaten by mice or vomited, &c. 

I reply to the first, " With God all things are possible." Hence 
we say, "I believe in God the Father Almighty." God can do 


more than a miserable man, nay, more than all the hosts of angels 
and men can conceive, else He would not be God. Moreover, 
faith transcends human capacity : these mysteries are matters for 
faith, not for reason. "Faitii," says S. Augustine {in Joan. Tract. 
27 and 40), "is believing what you see not." And S. Gregory {in 
Evang. Horn, xxvi.) says : " Faith has no merit where human reason 
supplies proof." S. Thomas, therefore, well sings of this sacrament — 

" Faith alone, though sight forsaketh, 
Shows true hearts the mystery." 

Moreover, it can be shown by a similar case that it is not im- 
possible for the body of Christ to be in so small a Host ; for the 
body of Christ was born of the Virgin, i.e., came forth from her 
closed womb ; He therefore penetrated the Virgin's womb in such 
a way that when He was born He was in the same place as His 
mother's womb was. Similarly, Christ rose from the closed sep- 
ulchre, and entered to His disciples when the doors were shut : 
He was therefore in the same place as the stone before the tomb 
and the door of the upper room. 

Now I argue thus : If two whole bodies can be at once in the 
same place, e.g., Christ and the stone, so also two parts of the same 
body, e.g., the head and feet of Christ, can be in the same place, as, 
e.g., in the same Host. If two can be, then can three or four or five, 
or as many as God shall see fit to put in the same place. Christ 
says the same in S. Matt. xix. 24., in the words, "It is easier for a 
camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to 
enter into the Kingdom of heaven." But God can absolutely draw 
a rich man to heaven, therefore He can make a camel go through 
the eye of a needle, and therefore the body of Christ through so 
small a Host. 

Now, if two bodies can be in the same place, so, by parity of 
reasoning, the same body, viz., that of Christ, can be in difierent 
places and different Hosts; for both are of equal (Hfficulty and of 
equal power. 

We can show, thirdly, the possibility of this by another example; 


for God can make an angel, nay, an angel can make liimself ex- 
pand from filling a single point to fill a whole room ; and on the 
other hand He can make a body that is spread through some extent 
of space contract to a single point. If He can do that, why not 
this, especially since He is Almighty? for both belong to the 
same order and present the same difficulty, nor does one involve 
more contradiction than the other. 

Further, not only does God do this in the case of an angel, who 
is spirit and not body, but He does it also to bodies in the world 
of nature. For fire will rarefy and expand water to ten times its 
volume, nay, make it boil over and escape ; and, again, cold can so 
condense this same water, when the heat of the fire is taken from 
it, as to contract it to its original volume. Why, then, cannot God, 
who infinitely surpasses the workings of nature, reduce the body of 
Christ, which is but of six feet, to the dimensions of a single Host, 
nay, of a single point ? As God can increase anything indefinitely, so 
can He diminish it in the same way ; for both the infinite power 
of God is requisite and sufficient. 

Lastly, Christ compares Himself and His Gospel to a grain of 
mustard-seed (S. Matt. xiii. 31), which, from being of small dimen- 
sions, attains great size by its inherent vigour, and spreads itself out 
into wide-spreading branches, and becomes a large tree. If God 
does this to a grain of mustard-seed by natural agencies, why can 
He not do the like in the Eucharist according to His promise? 

2. As to the indignity offered to Christ, I reply that Christ suffers 
nothing : it is the species alone that are affected. For Christ is here 
after a mysterious and indivisible manner, as a spirit. As, then, an 
angel who should enter the Host, or as God, who is in reality in 
every body and every place, suffers nothing if the Host or the body 
containing Him is vomited, burnt, or broken, so neither does the 
body of Christ in the Eucharist suffer anything, because it is like 
to an angel. Erasmus {Free/, in lib. Algeri.) says: ''God, who, 
according to nature, is as truly in the sewers as the skies, cannot 
be hurt or defiled, nor can the glorified body of the Lord." And 
again {ad Conrad Fcliicati) he says: '■^ Up to the present, with all 


Christians I have adored in the Eucharist Christy who suffered for me, 
nor do I yet see any reason why I should abafidon my belief. iVi? human 
reasons will ever have power to draw me aivay from tlic U7ianimous 
beliif of the Christian world. Those feiv ivords, ' In the begi?ining 
God created the heaven and the earthy' have 7nore weight with me 
than all the argunients of Aristotle and the rest of the philosophers, by 
which they strive to show that the heavens and the earth had no 
bcgintiing. So, too, here we have the words of God, ' This is My body, 
which is given for you,' ' This is My blood, which is shed for you.'" 

I have dealt with these objections at some length, because of the 
importance of their subject, and because of the modern Protestant 
controversies, which, I observe, are causing some of our neighbours, 
and especially the Dutch, to swerve from the ancient orthodox faith, 
because of the supposed difficulty or incredibility of this article of 
the Eucharist, when, as a fact, there is no other article in Holy Scrip- 
ture, the Fathers, or councils so firmly fixed as this is. 

From what has been said, it appears (i.) that in the Eucharist the 
species of bread does not remain, but is transubstantiated into the 
body of Christ, as the wine is into His blood, as the Lateran Council 
lays down, and as the Church has always held. Consequently it 
also appears (2.) that the accidents only of the bread and wine 
remain without a subject, and (3.) that the body of Christ is present 
after the manner of a spiritual substance, invisible, indivisible, the 
whole in the whole and the whole in each part of the host, as is 
thought universally by theologians. Let us now weigh the meaning 
of the words of consecration. 

This. This pronoun is not so much a substantive denoting an 
indefinite individual (as some think it to stand for "this thing," 
or "what is contained under these species," whether bread or the 
body of Christ) as it is an adjective signifying the same thing 
indeterminately, as "My body" signifies distinctly and by name. 
Similarly, when we say, "This is a servant," "This is a man," the 
word " this " merely points out the servant or the man in an indeter- 
minate way. You will perhaps reply that when Christ said "thi«," 
it was not yet the body of Christ, and therefore the word cannot 


stand for it. I answer that, as this is a form of consecration, the 
words are not enuntiative but efficacious, and that, therefore, the word 
"this " refers to that which is not yet, but which comes through the 
use of the formula, and will be there when that has been said. 

Perhaps you will urge again : This efficacious form of words 
signifies, This is transubstantiated into My body : therefore this 
refers to the bread; for it is the bread alone that is so transub- 
stantiated, I deny the major, viz., that transubstantiation is here 
signified primarily and directly. Primarily there is only signified 
that the body of Christ is made to be present in such a way that 
when the species is signified, so too is the body ; it then follows 
secondarily, that the bread is transubstantiated and annihilated. 
Still, if you wish to explain " this is " indirectly, as meaning " This 
is transubstantiated into My body," then I grant that it refers to 
the bread. It is no wonder if this pronoun stands for two diffe- 
rent things, because the one proposition, " This is My body," is 
of manifold meaning, efficacious, enuntiative, nay, efficacious in a 
twofold way. 

But to clearly understand all this, take notice that if Christ had 
taken the species only of bread without the substance, and had then 
consecrated it, nay, if He had taken not even the species but had 
created it, as He consecrated, out of nothing, by saying, "This is 
My body," then primarily He would have done just what He did wlien 
He took the bread and consecrated it and said, "This is My body." 
Put in the two supposed cases He would not have transubstantiated 
anything, for no substance of bread would have been there before, 
nor would the pronoun " this " have referred to bread or any other 
substance, but only to the body of Christ, which would be simply 
produced ; therefore in our last case, and in the actual consecration, 
there is not primarily signified transubstantiation, nor does "this" 
refer to the bread but to the body of Christ. 

Similarly, when God created the heaven. He could have said, 
"This is heaven," i.e., this is created and brought into being, and 
is heaven; " This is earth," i.e., this is created, is produced, and at 
the same time, by these very words, the earth is; "This is Eve," i.e., 


she is produced, and at the very instant that she comes into being 
she is Eve. In like manner, when it is said, " This is My body ; this 
is My blood," the meaning is, This is consecrated, produced, and 
becomes My body and blood, so that at the close of the consecration 
it is in fact My body and blood. 

This form of consecration then, " This is My body," seems, from 
what has been said, to signify properly and primarily, not the starting- 
point, "viz., the change and annihilation of the bread, but the goal, 
viz., the production of the body and blood of Christ ; and this is 
pointed to in the pronoun " this." In other words : that which under 
the species of bread and wine is produced and comes into being, 
and when it comes into being exists, is My body and blood. Still, 
in a secondary sense, the form of words denotes the destruction of 
the starting-point, the bread, and its transubstantiation. For, as 
under these species the substance of bread and wine formerly existed, 
and as they have to give place to the body and blood of Christ, which 
are produced by virtue of the words of consecration, so the pronoun 
"this" refers to nothing else but the body and blood of Christ. 
Hence, since by these words it is signified that the body of Christ is 
produced, it is necessarily also signified that the bread is done away 
with and transubstantiated into the body. 

The words of consecration are (i.) simply practical, and denote, 
"This is made My body;" (2.) enuntiative, denoting. This at the 
end of the consecration is My Body; (3.) conversive and trans- 
substantiative, and denote that "this" substance of bread contained 
under this species is changed into the body of Christ, in such a way 
that, when the consecration is finished, bread no longer remains, but 
has been changed into the body of Christ. 

Is. (i.) We must notice that Christ does not seem to have said 
is, for the Hebrew and Aramaic do not use the verb substantive but 
understand it, nay, they do not possess the present tense. Conse- 
quently in Greek and Latin the verb is not of the essence of the form 
of consecration ; still in practice it ought not to be omitted, and can- 
not be omitted without grievous sin, for the form of consecration 
would be ambiguous without it. (2.) The verb " is " is better supplied 


than "is made," (a) because there is no change here from not being 
to being, as " is made " would imply, for the flesh of Christ existed 
before ; {l>) because " is " expresses the instantaneousness of liie 
change, and includes what is and what was ; (c) because the pronoun 
"this" properly points to what is, not to what is being made, for 
what is not yet cannot, strictly speaking, be seen and pointed to, 
yet it is afterwards said to be pointed to when it is shown to be coming 
into existence so as to be seen ; (d) because "is" signifies the abiding, 
unchanging truth of this sacrament ; (e) because, lastly, it is better to 
say, "Take eat: this is My body," than, "This is being made My body." 
(3.) Notice again that Christ consecrated by the words, " This is 
My body," and not when He blessed the bread. So priests now 
consecrate by them in imitation of Christ, as the Councils of Florence 
and Trent and all the Fathers lay down, in opposition to the Greeks. 
Hence these words are used by the priest (a) historically, as relating 
what Christ did ; (l^) personally, as imitating in consecrating the exact 
actions of Christ. Hence in consecrating and transubstantiating 
the priest puts on the person of Christ. 

My Body. — i. Notice that "body" here signifies, not the wliole 
man, but the flesh as distinguished from the soul, which flesh is here 
present by the force of the words alone. The soul and divinity are 
present, however, by concomitance, both with the body and the 
blood. So too by concomitance the blood is with the body under 
the species of bread, and the body in turn is with the blood under 
the species of wine. Cf. the Council of Trent. 

2. Notice that Christ here instituted the sacrament of the 
Eucharist for all to partake of, and at the same time a sacrifice for the 
priests to offer to God. So the Church teaches, following Apostolical 
tradition, and so the Council of Trent lays down (sess. xxii, c. i). 
This is the one sacrifice of the New Law, tlie antitype of all that were 
under the Old Law. Therefore this one sacrifice is at once Eucharistic, 
a sin-offering, a burnt-offering, and a peace-offering. 

Which is b?'okcn for yon. i. According to Ambrose and 
Theophylact, the body of Christ is now being broken under the 
species, or by means of the species of bread, which are being broken 


and consumed, and so it is, as S. Luke has it, given to God, that is, 
sacrificed. All this is implied in the word " broken." Formerly, in the 
sacrifice called the '■^ mine ha" when the bread was offered to God, it 
had to be broken, blessed, and eaten, as S. Thomas points out (iii. 
qu. 85, art. 3, ad. 3). Hence the Catholic confession of Beren- 
garius, in which he recanted his error about the Eucharist, runs, that 
the body of Christ is in truth handled and broken by the hands of 
the priests, and pressed by the teeth of the faithful, viz., through the 
sacramental species of bread, which is handled, broken, and pressed. 
For this species is no longer that of bread, but of Christ's body, 
which alone is the substance here under such species or accidents. 
Hence it is that, when this species is seen, touched, and named, it is 
the substance of the body of Christ that is seen, touched, and named, 
and nothing else, just as before consecration, by the same species 
was seen, touched, and named the substance of bread. 

2. " Is broken " denotes, shall be shortly broken and immolated 
on the Cross. So Anselm. This breaking and immolation were not 
so much future as present, for the day of the Passover and Christ's 
suffering had begun when Christ said these words. It was therefore 
a kind of prolonged present. It was, says Cajetan, to be broken 
with scourgings in its skin, nails in its hands and feet, and a spear 
in its side. 

3. Bellarmine {de Missa, lib. i. c. 12) says: "In the Eucharist 
the body of Christ is broken, i.e., is divided and destroyed, viz., 
when under the distinct and different species of bread and wine. It 
is offered to God, taken, and consumed, to represent the suffering 
and death of Christ." Hence S. Chrysostom says : " The breaking of 
the body in the sacrament is a symbol of the Passion, and of the 
body broken on the Cross." Tropologically this breaking denotes 
mortification. Cf. S. Dionysius {EccL Hier. c. iii.). 

Ver. 25. — After the same manner also He took the cup when He had 
supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood.^^ Notice 
(i.) that Christ, after He celebrated the typical supper of the Paschal 
lamb, and afterwards the common supper on other meats, instituted 
the third, viz., the Eucharistic supper. 


2. Notice that tlie heathen offer their sacrifices after a banquet, 
as giving thanks to God for their feast, and offered Him libations 
and sang His praises crowned with garlands. (Cf. Athcn. lib. i. c. ix. 
and lib. xv. c. 20, also Virg. Ain. lib. viii., also Giraldus, de Diis 
Gentium.) The ancient ritual records of the Hebrews show that 
they did tlie same in the sacrifice of the Paschal lamb. When the 
supper was over, the head of the family took a piece of unleavened 
bread and broke it into as many parts as there were guests, and 
gave a piece to each, saying, " This is the bread of affliction which 
our fathers ate in the land of Egypt : whosoever hungers, let him 
come nigh and complete the Passover." Then he would take a cup 
and bless it, saying, " Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who hast created 
the fruit of the vine," &c. Then he would taste of it, and hand it 
on to the next, and he to his neighbour, and so on till it had made 
the round of the table. 

Christ follows their customs in instituting the Eucharist, and He 
left it as His last farewell and testament, and to give us and His 
disciples a symbol and proof of His great love, and to replace the 
typical lamb by tlie verity of the Eucharist. And this is why Christ 
supped first and instituted the Eucharist last of all. Now, however, 
through reverence for so great a sacrament^ the Eucharist, by Apostolic 
tradition, is always received fasting. 

This cup is the new testament in My blood. This is the authentic in- 
strument, and as it were the paper on which the new testament has 
been written and sealed, i.e., the new covenant ratified, and the new 
promises of God confirmed, and My last will to give you an eternal in- 
heritance, sealed, if only you will believe on Me and obey Me. It 
has been written, not in letters of ink, but in My blood, contained in 
this cup, just as a sheet of parchment contains the writing of the wilL 

You will perhaps object that SS. Matthew and Mark have : "This 
is the blood of the new testament." Why, then, does S. Paul say, 
" This cup," i.e., the blood contained in this cup, " is the testament ? " 

I answer that testament has a twofold meaning — {a) the last will 

of a testator, in which sense it is used by the two Evangelists, who 

speak of the blood in which the last will of Christ was confirmed ; 
vor. I. T 


and {li) it signifies the writing or the instrument of tins last will. So 
S. Paul uses it here, and calls the blood itself the testament. 

Notice (i.) that Christ is here alluding to the covenant of Closes 
between God and the people, ratified by the blood of victims, 
which in an allegory represented this covenant, ratified by the blood 
of Christ. Cf. Exod. xxiv. Notice (2.) that the ancients were wont to 
ratify their covenants with the blood of victims. Livy {lib. i.), speak- 
ing of the treaty drawn up between the Romans and Albans, says : 
" When tlie laws of the treaty had been agreed upon, the Fetial priest 
said, 'The Roman people will not be the first to break them. If it shall 
at any time do so, by common consent and with hostile intent, then 
do thou, O Jupiter, on ihc same day strike the Roman people as I 
this day strike this boar. Strike them the harder as thy power is the 
greater.' Then he killed the boar by a blow from a flint stone." Cf. 
too Virg. {y£n. lib. viii.). This same custom was common also long 
before that amongst true worshippers of God. Hence (Gen. xv. 9, 
TO, 17) the Lord ordered a bullock, a ram, and a she-goat to be sacri- 
ficed for a sign and confirmation of the covenant that He had made 
with Abraham, and He divided them in the midst. Wiien this was 
done, a lamp representing God passed through between the pieces, 
typifying that so should he be divided who should break the cove- 
nant. Cf. Jeremiah xxxiv. iS. Hence Cyril (contra /ulian, lib. x.). 
shows from Sophocles that this custom was observed in later times, 
when they went through the midst of a fire carrying a sword in their 
hands when they took an oath. Cf. also in this connection Exod. 
xxiv. The blood of the victims was here sprinkled, to signify that 
he who should break the covenant would in like manner pay with 
his own blood for his broken faith. But because it was between 
God and the people that the covenant was made, it was necessary 
for both God and the Israelites to divide the blood between them 
to be sprinkled with it ; and since God is incorporeal, and so cannot 
be sprinkled with blood, the altar was sprinkled with the blood of 
the sacrifices in His stead. 

In the same way Christ the Lord ratified the new covenant with 
His own blood, being the blood of a federal victim ; especially be- 


cause by His blood He won redemption, grace, and an inheritance 
for us, and all the other good things which He promised us in His 
covenant. Cf. Hebrews ix. 15 f/ seq. He expressed this in the 
institution of the Eucharist when He said : "This cup is the new 
testament in My blood," or as S. Matthew more clearly expresses 
it, "This is I\Iy blood of the new testament." From this we may 
collect a strong argum-jnt against the Sacramentaries for the verity 
of the liody of Christ ; for if the old covenant was ratified in blood, 
as we see it was from Exod. xxiv. 8, where we read, " This is the blood 
of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you," so too is the 
new covenant ratified with actual blood, as we see from the words, 
" This is My blood of the new testament." For here the old was a 
type cf the new and the real covenant, and it is certain that Christ 
here referred to it. 

It may be said, Christ speaks of the blood of the new testament, 
not of the new covenant, as IMoses does in Exod. xxiv., and therefore 
the two sprinklings are dissimilar. I answer that testament here has 
a twofold meaning : {a) specially for the last will of a testator, or his 
authentic instrument ; and when his will is conditioned, his promise 
takes the form of an agreement or covenant. Even if his will be 
absolute, yet there is always involved a mutual obligation on the 
testator's side to bequeath his goods, and on the side of the bene- 
ficiary to undertake the debts and burdens of the testator, and to 
carry out his wishes. But since a testament contains the last wishes 
of a man, and so makes, as it were, a closely binding agreement, the 
word has come to mean {l>) any agreement, promise, or covenant, as 
S. Jerome says (in Malachi ii.), and Innocent {de Cclcb. Miss. cap. cum 
Martli.), and S. Augustine {Lociif. in. Genes. 94). This is proved to 
be the meaning in both Latin and Greek by Budxus. 

Hence it is that Christ and S. Paul, follow'ing the Septuagint, 
mean by the "blood of the testament" the blood of the covenant, 
whether in its looser or stricter meaning ; for testament here can be 
understood in both ways: (r.) the Eucharist gives us the blood 
of Christ as an earnest of our promised possession in heaven, or of 
the covenant entered into with us about it; (2.) this covenant was 


Christ's last will, and is therefore a testament most important and 
most sure. Hence, too, the Apostle teaches us that Christ, the 
testator, sealed this testament with His blood. Cf. notes to Heb. 
viii. lo. 

Do this, that I have just done — consecrate, offer as a sacrifice, 
take, distribute the Eucharist, as I have consecrated, offered, taken^ 
and distributed it. Hence the Apostles were here ordained priests. 
So the Council of Trent says (sess. xxii. c. i), following the perpetual 
belief of the Church. 

It may be objected that Christ did not say, " I have sacrificed : 
do you also sacrifice." I answer i, that neither did He say, "I 
have instituted the sacrament : do you celebrate it." Nor did He 
say on the Cross, " I offer Myself as a sacrifice," but He actually 
did so. So, too, this consecration was a real offering of sacrifice, 
inasmuch as by it, through a real transubstantiation, there was 
offered to the glory of God a most worthy victim, viz., the body of 
Christ under the species of an animal slain and dead, that is, a body 
separated from the blood as far as the act of consecration goes. 

2. That the Eucharist is a sacrifice is also implied by the phrase 
" when He had supped." In other words, after the sacrifice of the 
typical lamb, Christ instituted the true and blessed Eucharistic 
sacrifice which the lamb had foreshadowed. Since the Paschal 
lamb was a type of the Eucharist and was a sacrifice, as is agreed 
by all, it follows that the Eucharist is a sacrifice. 

3. The word "testament" also implies the sacrifice of the 
Eucharist, for the blood by which covenants were ratified was the 
blood of victims. As then, when it is said in Exod. xxiv. 8, " This 
is the blood of the covenant that the Lord hath made with you," 
we understand the blood of the victims sacrificed, by which the old 
covenant was ratified ; so when Christ said, " This is My blood of 
the new testament," we must understand the blood of the sacrifice 
by which the new testament was ratified, and which was prefigured 
by the old covenant, and by the blood of the sacrifice. Lastly, in 
the Eucharist alone Christ is properly and perfectly the Priest 
after the order of Melchizedech ; for on the cross (if the victim 


and its slaughter, the oblation and the effusion of the blood be con- 
sidered) Christ was a Priest after the order of Aaron only, i.e.. His 
priesthood was like Aaron's. So the Fathers lay down. See them 
quoted in Bellarmine {de Missd, lib. i. c. 6 and 12). This too is 
the voice and mind of the Church of all ages. 

It may be said again that the Eucharist is a commemoration of 
the sacrifice on the Cross, and therefore it is not a sacrifice. I deny 
that this follows, for if so the ancient sacrifices would not be 
true sacrifices, although they prefigured the sacrifice of the Cross. 
Similarly, the Eucharist is a true sacrifice, though it is done in com- 
memoration of the sacrifice of the Cross. 

Ver. 26. — For as ofte?i as ye eat this bread, &c. Ye show it forth not 
only in word (as in the canon of the Mass are the words, " Wherefore 
we, mindful of Thy blessed Passion," &c.), but better still in deed, both 
to yourselves and to the people. So Anselm, Theophylact, Ambrose. 

Theophylact draws the moral lesson : " JJlien you take the Eu- 
charist you should feel Just as if you were with Christ on the evening 
of the Faschal feast and at supper with Him, lying by His side on 
the couch, and receiving from His otvn hands ilie sacred food ; for that 
is the supper, and that is the death which we announce and show till 
His second advent.'' 

Take note that it is His death rather than the mighty deeds of 
His life that Christ bids us show. The reason is, that by His death 
the testament of Christ was completed, together with His last will, 
and our redemption, and the supreme love that He had for us, which 
caused Him to die for us. Of all these the Eucharist is the memorial. 

S. Basil says tropologically {in Reg. Brev. 234) : " We announce the 
Lord's death when we die unto sin and live unto Christ, or wheti the 
world is crucified unto us and we unto the world." 

Lastly, S. Hippolytus (de Consumm. Mufidi.) says, with S. Chry- 
sostom and Theophylact, that the sacrifice and sacrament of the 
Eucharist will publicly last till the second coming of Christ and the 
coming of Anti-Christ, who will remove it, as Daniel foretold (xii. 11), 
and prevent it from being publicly celebrated at all events. S. Paul 
implies this when he says, " Until He come," that is, till the glorious 


Lord come to judgment. Hence, as S. Tiiomas says, it appears that 
the celebration of the Eucharist will last to the end of the world. 

Ver. 27. — Whosoever shall eat this bread . . . jimvorthily shall 
be guilty, &:c. He will be guilty of violating, of taking and handling 
the Lord's body unwort'nily, as Judas and the Jews did. So Photius, 
Theophylact, and Chrysostom. The two latter say that he will be as 
guilty of the Lord's death as if he had slain the Lord and had shed 
His blood. We must understand this, however, with some reserve 
and regard for proportion ; for absolutely the homicide, or rather 
deicide of Christ was a greater sin than an unworthy communion, 
just as it is a greater injury to slay a king than to spit on him. 
Ambrose (in Heb. x.) agrees with Chrysostom, for he says : " By this 
sin the body of the Lord is trodden under foot." Cyprian too says 
{Serm. de Lafsis) : " Force is applied to the Lord's body, and by 
hands and mouth we sin against Him." Cf. also S. Basil {de Bapt. 
Serm. 2). As one who lies at a king's table with hatred in his heart 
does him great injury, so does he who is partaker of tiie Lord's table 
when in mortal sin, nay, he does Him greater injury, for he feeds 
on Christ Himself, and receives Him into a heart full of hatred. 

The Latin version has or drink this cup of the Lord, whence is 
inferred the sufficiency of communion in one kind. 

It appears, moreover, from this verse, that in the Eucharist there 
is the true body of Christ ; for it is not true of the bare sign that 
he who takes it unworthily is guilty of the Lord's body. Besides 
this, if you say with Calvin that the unworthy communicant is guilty 
of the Lord's body, not because he has violated it in itself, but its 
image in the Eucharist, then at all events it follows that images (as 
they say the Eucharist is) are to be venerated, and that the iconoclasts 
who break them are guilty of the body and blood of Christ and His 
saints. How then can Calvin and his supporters have the audacity 
to lay violent hands on them and destroy them ? 

Ver. 28 — But let a man examine himself. Calvin says that he is 
to examine himself to see whether he has faith ; but it is presumed 
that he has this, for the Apostle is speaking of the Corinthian faithful. 
But according to Calvin each is most certain, and by divine faith 


is bound to believe that he has this faith, so that if this be so there 
is no need for examination. The true meaning is that a man is to 
examine himself whether he is fit and rightly disposed towards so 
great mysteries, and then fittingly prepare himself, and sec if he 
knows of any sin, especially mortal sin, as, c.^q:, drunkenness or pride 
(ver. 21), and then purge himself by contrite confession. The 
Council of Trent (scss. xiii. c. 7) lays down that this examination and 
confession are of Divine law or Christ's institution, according to 
S. Paul. The same was said 1200 years before this Council, by S. 
Leo ( £/>. gi ad Thcod. ForoJ.) and by Cyprian {de Lapsis). Let a 
man too examine himself, with the pious intention of uprooting all 
venial sins by the help of prayer. So Chrysostom and Ambrose. 
Hence before the Passover supper, before their common meal, and 
before the Eucharist, Christ washed the disciples' feet, including 
Judas, to signify the purity with which we should approach the 
feast (S. John xiii. 5). 

It will greatly stimulate this examination if the following words 
of S. Gregory [Dial. lib. iv. c. 58) be earnestly meditated on : " This 
victim singularly saves tJie soul from eternal death., and repairs 
mysterioitsly the death of the Only-Begotten Son^ who, being risen 
from the dead, dieth no more, a?id death hath no more dominion over 
Him, yet liveth an immortal and incorj'uptihle life, and is sacrificed 
again for us in the mystery of this oblation. . . . Who is there of the 
faithful that doubts that at the moment of sacrifice the heave?is are 
opened at the priesfs words, the choirs of angels are present at this 
mystery of Jesus Christ, the lowest are joined to the highest, things 
earthly tvith divine, and things visible and invisible beco7ne one ? . . . 
Butwhe7i we join in these mysteries, we must sacrifice ourselves to God 
with contrite hearts ; for we, who celebrate the mysteries of the Lord!s 
Passion, ought to show it in our lives. Then the Victim will be of real 
avail for us before God, ivhen zve have made ourselves victims to HimP 

Meditate, also, on the words of Thomas Theodidactus {de Imit. 
Christi, lib. iv. c. 2): " When you celebrate or hear Mass, it ought to 
seem to you as great, as fresh, and as Joyous as if at that very moment 
Christ was for the first time descending into the Virgin's womb, or 


/ui?iging on the Cross, and suffering and dying for us men and for 
our salvation." S. Cassius, Bishop of Narnia, thus thought and did. 
S. Gregory writes {Ho7n 37 in Evang.): '■^ His custom was to offer 
the daily sacrifice, and when he came to the hour for the sacrifice, he 
was wholly overcome by tears, and offered himself with contrite heart 
a ivilling sacrifice" Therefore he merited to hear his Lord saying : 
"Z><? what you are doing: finish the work you have begun, let not thy 
foot cease nor thy hand tarry ; on the birthday of the Apostles you shall 
come to Me, and I will pay you yottr great reward^ He died on 
the feast of SS. Peter and Paul, and his soul was taken to heaven. 
In the same way S. Gregory, too, daily celebrated Mass, with careful 
preparation and perfect contrition. On one occasion he discovered 
that a poor man had died in a remote place, and for some days he 
abstained from the Mass, and gave himself up to grief, to expiate his 
fault, as though it had been by his negligence that the poor man had 
(lied of hunger. On the contrary, his charity, and the trouble he 
took, were so great that he provided with the necessaries of life all 
the poor, not only of Rome, but also of nearly the whole of Italy. 
So S. Thomas Aquinas, when at the point of death, prepared him- 
self by floods of tears for the Holy Communion. 

Ver. 29. — For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, &c. This is, 
say Photius and Anselm, he that treats it as ordinary and everyday 
kind of food. For, as S. Justin says {Apol. ad Ant. Piuni)'. " We 
Christians take the Eucharist not as co7n77ion food, but we believe that, 
as by the Word of God the So7i of God was 77iade i7ian, so by the words 
of co7isecratio7i are the body a7id blood of Christ 7nade to be present in 
the Eucharist.''^ Therefore, too, S. Francis, writing to the priests of 
his order (torn. v. Biblioth. Fat.) says: ^^ Listen, 77iy brothers: if the 
Blessed Virgi7i is rightly ho7ioured, who bore Hi/n i7i her holy womb ; 
if S. John Baptist tre77ibled and was afraid to touch the Lord's head ; 
if such honour is paid to the to77ib i7i which Lie someti77ie lay, how 
holy, just, and worthy ought he to be, how should he quake and fear 
who handles with his hands, takes i7i his heart a7id 77iouth, and gives 
to others LLi77i who is to die 710 77i07-e, but lives for ever in glory, upo7i 
who77i the angels desire to gaze. . . . A great and pitiable weakness is 
it, that 7vhcn you have LIi>n present i7i this zvay you should care for 


aJiy tiling else in the ivorld. Let the ivhole man ti e/nbie, all the world 
quake, and the heavens rejoice, when Christ, the Son of the living God, 
is up07i the altar in the pries fs hands." 

Ver. 30. — For this cause many arc weak. So at the present day, 
says S. Anselm, are many taken with various diseases after the 
Eucharist, because they have received unworthily the Lord's body. 

A7id ?nany sleep. Die prematurely, and sleep in death, be- 
cause they have communicated unworthily and without prepara- 
tion. So S. Anselm and Chrysostom. They were even ve.xed by 
the devil because of this sin. Cf. S, Chrysostom {Hojn. 5 in i 
Tim.). S. Cyprian {de Lapsis) gives examples. He says that some 
who had eaten things offered to idols, and then received the 
Eucharist, were struck dumb ; another pulled out her tongue ; a girl, 
after eating of idol-meats, vomited the elements. Francis Suarez 
piously warns us from this how careful a watch should be kept by 
every communicant over his tongue, because the tongue is the first 
member to receive Christ, and is the instrument by which He begins 
to be assimilated. 

Ver. 31. — But if we Judge ourselves. That is, according to the Latin 
Fathers, punish ourselves ; according to the Greek, condemn our- 
selves ; or thirdly, prove and examine ourselves to see if there be 
any sin in us, and then expiate it by contrite confession, as was 
ordered in ver. 28. So Cajetan and Gagneius. This third meaning 
is the best and most literal. 

We should not be judged. Not be punished by the judgment of 
God with diseases and death, as in ver. 30. So Erasmus and 
Vatablus. S. Augustine {Setiten. 210) well says: '^ Sins, whether 
small or great, caiuiot go unpunished. They are smitten, either by the 
repentance of the pe^iiient or by the judgme?it of the Great Judge. But 
Divine vengeance gives way if man's conversion forestall it. For God 
loves to spare them that confess their sins, and to refrain from judging 
them that judge themselves." 

Ver. 32. — But when we are judged ive are chastejied of the Lord, 
&c. When we are punished in this present life with diseases and 
death, it is to prevent us from being condemned with unbelievers 
and sinners. We are warned by God's chastening to expiate the 


sin of unworthy communion by repentance, and so be saved. So 
S. Augustine {Setif. 274) says : " When God corrects the human race, 
atid troubles it zvith the scourges of holy chasteniftg, He is exercising 
discipline before Jtidg7nent, and for the most part He loves whom He 
chastens, being unwilling tofi?id one to conde^nn." 

Vers, -^^ii 34. — Wherefore, my brethren . . . if ayiy man hunger, 
let him cat at home. Tlie Apostle here gives orders that after the 
Eucharist they all wait for each other before beginning the agape ; 
or rather, as was said at ver. 21, that they wait for each other at the 
supper which preceded Communion, so that they all might come 
together at the same time for this feast with common charity and 
concord, and recruit themselves in it moderately and soberly, and so 
not approach afterwards to take the Lord's body unworthily, viz., in 
drunkenness and discord. If there is any one who cannot wait for 
this meal, the Apostle bids him go home and eat it there. He says 
this to shame them. So Chryso:>tom, Theophylact, (Ecumenius. 

It is deduced from this passage that it was then the custom for 
those who were going to communicate to fast for the whole day until 
the common meal ; this is why the Apostle says that they came to 
it hungry. Anselm says somewhat differently, that if any one can- 
not fast till the time for Communion, let him eat at home, but not 
communicate afterwards. But the first meaning is the better. 

That ye come not together ujito condejtinatioji. Because of your pride, 
gluttony, drunkenness and disobedience. 

The rest will I set i?i order whefi I come. The other things, that 
is, which make for the worthy and decent celebration of the Eucharist. 
This is a well-known passage in support of the traditions of the 
Church. S. Augustine {Ep. 118) says: ^^ The ChurcKs tradition is 
for the Eucharist to be takeji fasting, although Christ instituted it 
after supper." Another tradition is for water to be mingled with 
the wine. Cf. S. Cyprian {Ep. 6^ ad Ccecil.). Another is for the 
Mass to be offered for the living and the dead, and with a well-defined 
form of words, and ornaments of the priest and altar, &c. 

Christians formerly communicated in this way: (i.) They fasted 
till the Lord's Supper, as was seen at ver. 34 : " If any man hunger, 
let him eat at home." (2.) The people offered in the Church bread 


and wine to the deacons at a certain place. T>y them their offerings 
were taken to the altar. Little tables were set up for those who were 
going to communicate, just as now-a-days the people communicate 
at a table covered with a cloth. Before communion a deacon cried 
out, " Holy things for the holy." The priest in communicating any 
one said, "The body of Christ." The answer was given, "Amen."' 
They received not with the mouth, but in the hand, the man with 
his right hand ungloved, placed over his left in the form of a cross, 
whence the hands were washed beforehand ; the woman with her 
hand covered with a clean white piece of linen called the " dominical." 
The Council of Auxerre (can. 36) enacted that no woman should 
take the Eucharist with bare hands, and also that each woman should 
have her "dominical" when she comiriunicated. If she had not got 
it, she was not to communicate till the ne.xt Sunday (can. 39). Cyril 
of Jerusalem {Catach. 5) says : " When you approach for communion, 
do not come with outspread hands, or fingers disjoined, but make the 
left hand a throne for the right, which is to receive so great a king, 
and with hollowed palm receive the body of Christ with the reply, 
'Amen.' Moreover the Eighth Council of Constantinople (can. loi) 
enacted the same thing in the words : " Jf any 07ie of tmsiamed body 
wish to communicate, before he do so let him put his hands into the shape 
of a cross to receive the sacrament of love. Those ivho make receptacles 
of gold or other material to do the duty of their hands in receivi?tg the 
Holy Communion are not to be admitted, inasmuch as they prefer some 
inanimate form of matter to the i??iage of their God." Again, each one 
put into his mouth the Eucharist he had received in his hand, that 
is the species of bread, and it was taken daily, fasting. In S. Cyprian's 
time they received the Eucharist also under the species of wine, in 
order that in times of persecution they might be strengthened to shed 
a martyr's blood by receiving the blood of Christ. Hence S. Cyprian 
{Ep. ^6 ad Thibarit.) says : " A more severe and jnore bloody fight is at 
hand, for which the soldiers of Christ ought to prepare themselves with 
uncorrupted virtue and robust faith, recollecting that they daily receive 
the chalice of the blood of Christ for the very object of enabling them to 
shed their blood for Christ." As S. Chrysostom says, "We leave that 
table like lions breathing out fire, and made terrible to the devils." 


I spiritual gifts 4 are divers, 7 yet all to p-ojit withal. 8 And to that end are 
diversely bestowed : 12 that by tiie like proportion, as the members of a natural 
body tend all to the 16 mutual decency, 22 sei~vice, and 26 succotir of the same 
body; 27 so we should do one for another, to make up the mystical body of 

"\T OW concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 

' 2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, 
even as ye were led. 

3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of 
God calleth Jesus accursed : and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but 
by the Holy Ghost. 

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 

5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 

6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which 
worketh all in all. 

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom ; to another the word 
of knowledge by the same Spirit ; 

9 To another faith by the same Spirit ; to another the gifts of healing by the 
same Spirit ; 

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another 
discerning of spirits ; to another divers kinds of tongues ; to another llie 
interpretation of tongues : 

1 1 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every 
man severally as he will. 

12 For as the body in one, and hath many members, and all the members of 
that one body, being many, are one body : so also is Christ. 

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we he Jews or 
Gentiles, whether we be bond or free ; and have been all made to drink into 
one Spirit. 

14 For the body is not one member, but many. 

15 If the foot shall say. Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is 
it therefore not of the body ? 

16 And if the ear shall say. Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body ; 
is it therefore not of the body ? 

17 If the whole body were ■s^n eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were 
hearing, where were the smelling ? 

iS But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it 
hath pleased him. 


19 And if they were all one member, where rvcre the body? 

20 But now «;r they many members, yet but one body. 

21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee : nor again 
the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, 
are necessary : 

23 And those inciiibjrs of the body, which we think to be less honourable, 
upon these we bestow more abundant honour ; and our uncomely parts have 
more abundant comeliness. 

24 For our comely parts have no need : but Cod hath tempered the body 
together, having given more abundant honour to that fart which lacked : 

25 'I'hat there should be no schism in the body ; but that the members should 
have the same care one for another. 

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one 
member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 

28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, 
thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, 
diversities of tongues. 

29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of 
miracles ? 

30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 

31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more 
excellent way. 


In this and the two following chapters S. Paul discusses Christian gifts and 
graces. In this chapter he points out — 

i. That gifts are variously distributed by the Holy Spirit. 
ii. To show this he draws an illustration from the human body, which, 
though it is one, yet has many different members, and he concludes that 
each one in the Church should be content with the grace given him, and 
the position in which he is placed, and use his gifts for the common 
good, so that all, as members of the same body, may help and care for 
each other (ver. 12). 
iii. Next he declares that God has provided His Church with different 
classes of men, so that some are apostles, some prophets, some 
teachers, &c. (ver. 28). 

In this chapter S. Paul deals with such gifts as prophecy, tongues, 
and powers of healing, &c. In the beginning of the Church these 
gifts were abundantly bestowed upon the faithftil by the Holy Spirit, 
even as they were upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. The 
occasion for his dealing with these was the way in which the Corin- 


thians prided themselves upon these gifis : one put an extravagant 
value on one gift, another on another, and some were mortified at 
not receiving some gifts which they saw others have. The Apostle, 
therefore, lays down what these gifts are — their nature and import, 
and the manner of iheir use. 

Ver. I. — I would not have you ignorant. And therefore he pro- 
ceeds to give them teaching about them. 

Ver, 2. — Ye know that ye were Gentiles, &c. You were led lil^e 
slaves, by custom, by tiie institutions of your ancestors, by religious 
tradition, and by diabolic agency to these dumb idols. For the 
Hebraism in the employment of the participle instead of the finite 
verb, cf. Rom. xii. ii. Remember, he says, O Corinthians, that 
when you were Gentiles you used to worship idols, as stocks and 
stones which have neither breath, feeling, power of speech, nor 
strength of any kind, and much less can give such things to their 
worshippers. But now that you have become Christians you can 
worship God, who is pure spirit, full of all grace and wisdom, and 
sheds these same spiritual gifts abundantly upon you, as you daily 
experience. Recognise, therefore, the grace bestowed upon you by 
Christ, the change wrought in you, and worship Christ, the author of 
all this, together with the Holy Spirit. 

Ver. 3. — Wherefore . . . 710 man . . . calLth Jesus accursed. The 
'•wherefore" shows this verse to be a conclusion from the preceding, 
and explains it. I have reminded you, he says, of your previous con- 
dition as Gentiles, and of your dumb idols, in order that you may 
appreciate duly the greatness of your calling, and the grace of the 
Holy Spirit given you in your baptism, by which you no longer call 
on dumb idols but on Christ and the Holy Spirit, and receive from 
them gifts of tongues, &:c., that you may know how full of eloquence 
and energy compared with your dumb idols is the Holy Spirit who 
makes you eloquent in divine wisdom. Acknowledge, then, the 
Holy Spirit's power, and contend no more about His gifts, since you 
have them from the Holy Spirit, who distributes His gifts as He 
wills. Let not him who has received less grieve thereat, nor him 
who has received more be high-minded. So Chrysostom. 


IVo man speaking by the Sj>iril of God calleth Jesus accursed. No 
one execrates or blasphemes Jesus if he has the Spirit of God. He 
rather acknowledges Him and calls upon Him, as the author of the 
grace he has received, of his salvation, and of all spiritual gifts. S. 
Paul uses the figure meiosis, and leaves the rest to be understood. 

Observe that S. I'aul says this to the Corinthians, partly because 
of the Jews, who to this day are declared to say in their synagogues, 
Cajetan says, "May Jesus and the Christians be accursed;'"' partly, 
also, and even more, because of the Gentiles, among whom the 
Corinthians were living. They and their poets, and their priests 
especially, were in the habit of execrating Jesus. Moreover, by this 
Gentile rulers tested whether any one were a Christian or not. 
They would order them to curse Christ, as Pliny says, that he had 
ordered {Ep. ad Traj.) : " There tvas drought before me a schedule 
containing the ?iames of many tvho were accused of being Christians. 
They deny that they are or ever were Christians. In 7ny presence they 
called upon the gods, and burnt incense, and poured a libatioti of wine 
to your image, which I had ordered to be brought in amongst the statues 
of the gods. Jlforeover, they cursed Christ ; and it is said that those 
who are true Christians can7iot be in any zvay forced to do any of these 
things. I thought, therefore, that they ought to be disfnissed. Others 
said that they had been Christians, but had noiv ceased to be ; they 
all paid honour to your image and the images of the gods, and cursed 

iVo man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by tJie Holy Ghost. 
The Apostle draws a contrast between calling Jesus accursed and 
calling Him Lord. No one can recognise, believe, invoke, and preach 
Jesus as Lord, and profess faith in Him as he ought, and as is 
necessary to salvation, except in the Holy Spirit, i.e., tiirough the 
Holy Spirit. For faith, hope, and prayer are Plis gifts. 

S. Paul does not by this deny that unbelievers, under the ordinary 
influence only of God, can profess the name of Jesus, or have good 
thoughts about Him, but only that no one without the grace of 
Christ and the Holy Si)irit can with true faith and pious affection 
invoke Jesus as Lord earnestly and heartily, and confess Him to be 


our Redeemer; or even say in his heart, or think of Him anything 
which in its rank and order confers and disposes to forgiveness of sins, 
grace, and eternal bliss. So say Ambrose and Anselm. This appears 
from the fact tliat he is addressing the Corinthian faithful, and re- 
buking the pride which they took in their gifts and graces, on the 
ground that they have their faith and all their gifts, not from them- 
selves but from the Holy Spirit. These gifts, then, he means to say, 
are not your own, nor can you even call upon Jesus of yourselves ; 
but to know Him and call upon Him are the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Ver. 4. — Now there are diversities of gifts. One grace is given to 
one, another to another, but they all proceed from the same Spirit. 

Ver. 5. — And there are differefices of administrations.. There are 
different kinds of sacred ministries distributed by the same Lord, from 
whom as God and through whom as man we receive them, so that He 
is ministered to in different ways by different people. So Anselm. 

Ver. 6. — Atid there are diversities of operations, &c. Observe i. 
that the Apostle assigns gifts to the Holy Spirit, the fount of goodness; 
ministries to the Son, as Lord ; operations to the Father, as the first 
beginning of all things. So Theophylact and Anselm. 

2. The gifts here spoken of are what are sometimes called "graces 
gratuitously given;" the ministries are the various offices in the Church, 
such as the diaconate, the Episcopate, and the care of the poor ; the 
operations are miraculous powers, such as the exorcism of demons, 
the healing the sick, the raising the dead. The word operations is 
explained in ver. 10 by being expanded into "working of miracles," 
which is translated by Erasmus the " working of powers." The Greek 
Svvafiis is strictly power, might, ability, and evepyeca, working, ivep- 
y>;/xa, work. 

But it will be more satisfactory to say that the Apostle calls all 
graces gratuitously given (i.) graces, because they are given gratui- 
tously; (2.) ministries, because by them each one ministered to the 
Church ; (3.) workings, because by them the faithful received from 
the Holy Spirit a marvellous power to say and do things surpass- 
ing the power of nature. These graces are the work of the Holy 
Spirit equally with the Father and the Son ; for all external works, as 


theologians say, viz., all that go forth to created things, are common 
to the Three Persons ; yet, as they are workings they are fitly assigned 
to the Father, as ministries to the Son, as graces to the Holy Spirit. 

Which ivorketh all in all. i. God works everything in nature 
by working effectively with second causes, as theologians teach in 
opposition to Gabriel Biel. Thus God brings about all the blessings 
of nature and of good-fortune. That one is poor, another rich is to 
be attributed to the counsel and will of God. Cf. S. Chrysostom 
{Horn. 29 Moral.). 

2. God works all supernatural things, both the graces that make 
a man pleasing to God and the graces that the Apostle means here, 
viz., those gratuitously given, such as the working of miracles. What- 
ever the saints ask of God in prayer, or order to be done in His 
name, is done by God's direct action, even in the realm of nature. 

It does not follow from this that the co-operation of God goes 
before and determines beforehand the working of secondary causes, 
and of free-will in good works, and of grace that makes a man 
pleasing ; for in all these God works all things thro-ugh His pre- 
venient grace, by which He stirs up the will, and through grace 
co-operating, which, together with free-will freely working, works 
simultaneously everything that is good. But the Apostle is not 
dealing primarily with the works of grace that make a man pleasing 
to God, but with the workings of graces gratuitously given, as will 
appear from what follows. 

S. Hilarius {de Tritt. lib. viii.) renders " works " " inworks," and 
so follows the Greek more closely, which signifies the inward 
presence and effectual power with which God works all things 
inwardly, especially miracles and all the other gifts. The whole 
chapter deals with these. 

Ver. 7. — But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to 
profit withal. The gift given by the Holy Spirit, and by which He is 
manifested, is given for the benefit of the Church, not of the individual. 

Ver. 8. — To one is given by the Spirit the ivord of wisdom. The 
power of explaining wisdom, viz., the deepest mysteries of the Tri- 
nity, of the Incarnation, of predestination, &c. Cf. chap. xiii. 

VOL. I. u 


To another the word of knoivkdge. Tlie power of explaining the 
things pertaining to life and morals. S. Augustine distinguishes 
thus between wisdom and knowledge {de Trin. lib. xii. c. 14 and 
15), and the Apostle so takes knowledge in chap. viii. Others under- 
stand by knowledge the power of explaining the things of faith by 
examples, comparisons, and human and philosophical reasonings. 

Ver. 9. — To another faith by the same Spirit, i. S. Paul does 
not mean here the theological faith which all Christians have, but 
ihat transcendent faith, including the theological, which is the 
mother of miracles. It consists above all things in a constant con- 
fidence in God for obtaining anything and for working miracles, 
e.g., as Christ says, for removing mountains. This appears from 
chap. xiii. 2. Cf. S. Chrysostom. 

2. Ambrose understands faith here to be the gift of an intrepid 
confession and preaching of the faith. 

3. But best oiaW faith here is a clear perception of the mysteries 
of the faith for the purposes of contemplation and explanation ; for 
in Rom. xii. 6, S. Paul says in the same way that prophets have the 
gift of prophecy, and ought to prophesy " according to the proportion 
of faith," i.e., according to the measure of the understanding of the 
things of faith given them by God. Maldonatus {i?i Notis Afa?iusc.) 
says that the Apostle here means that transcendent faith possessed 
by but few, and which enables its possessors to give a ready assent 
to Divine things ; for the faith which works miracles seems to be 
included in the " working of powers " mentioned in the next verse, 
as Toletus, amongst others, rightly points out at Rom. xii. 6. 

Ver. 10. — To another the working of miracles. Literally, the 
"working of powers," viz., those greater miracles which concern the 
soul, not those which belong to the body or its diseases. Of this 
kind are the raising the dead, casting out devils, punishing the un- 
believers and impious by a miracle, as S. Peter did Ananias and 
Sapphira. So say Chrysostom and Anselm. Thus the "working 
of powers" is distinguished from the "gift of healing." 

To another discerning of spirits. That is of the thoughts and 
intents of the heart, and consequently of words and actions, whether 


they proceed from nature, or from the inspiration of God, or an 
angel or the devil. So Chrysostom, Ambrose, Anselm. S. Jerome, 
in his life of S. Hilarion, says that he had this gift, and S. Augus- 
tine says (conf. lib. iii. c. 2) that his mother Monica had ; so too 
had S. Vincent of Ferrara, and so have some now-a-days, especially 
those who have the direction of souls. It is a gift most useful to 
confessors, one to be sought for from God, in so far as a perfect 
knowledge and care of consciences require it. 

To another the .inferju-etation of tongues. Of obscure passages, 
especially of Holy Scripture. Hence there were formerly in the 
Church interpreters, whose duty was fourfold: (i.) there were 
those who, by the gift of tongues, prophesied or sung hymns in a 
foreign language; (2.) those who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, spoke 
of obscure and deep mysteries; (3.) those who publicly expounded 
the letters of S. Paul and of others sent to their people ; (4.) those 
who turned them into another language. In this way many think 
that S. Clement turned the letter to the Hebrews from Hebrew into 
Greek, It appears from this that Holy Scripture is not plain to 
^every one ; nor is it, as the heretics think, to be interpreted by the 
private ideas of any one, seeing that God has placed interpreters 
in His Church. But it should be noted that these interpreters have 
now been succeeded by professors of Hebrew, Greek, and Divinity. 

1. From this chapter and the following, theologians have drawn 
the distinction between grace which perfects its subject and makes 
him pleasing to God, such as charity, chastity, piety, and other 
virtues, and grace gratuitously given, which is ordained for the 
perfecting of others. Although the Apostle names here nine only 
of the "graces gratuitously given," yet there may be more. 

2. It is very likely that of these nine five are permanent habits, 
viz., wisdom, knowledge, faith, different kinds of tongues and their 
interpretation, to which must sometimes be added the discerning 
of spirits. The remaining four are not habits but transient actions, 
viz., the gift of healing, tiie working of miracles, prophecy, and the 
discerning of spirits. Cf. Bellarmine {de Gratid, lib. i. c. 10). 

Ver. II. — Dividing to every man severally as He will. Dividing 


to each one individually his own gifts and graces. Cf. S. Jerome 
{contra Pelag. dial. i). Origen understood "as He will" to refer 
to each several man. It refers, of course, to the Holy Spirit, i. 
Hence, as Theophylact says, the Holy Spirit is Lord and God. He 
is not produced as an effect, but He effects all things equally with 
the Father, who worketh all in all (ver. 6). The working all in all 
assigned to the Father in ver. 6 is here assigned to the Spirit. 

2. It follows that the Holy Spirit, being God, has free-will and 
works freely. 

3. Abdlard, Wyclif, and Calvin may be refuted by this verse, in 
their teaching that God cannot do anything but what He actually 
does do. This is to rob God of His omnipotence, and to subject 
Him, like man, to fate, and therefore to transfer His Divinity to fate. 
For, if this were so, God would not work as He chose, but as fate 
willed, under whom He and all things would be placed. 

Ver. 12. — For as the body is one . . . so also is Christ. As an 
animal body is one, as a man has but one body, so also has Christ 
one body, the Church, the members of which are many, whose 
head He is. 

1. But S. Augustine objects {de Peccat. Mentis, lib. i. c. 31) that if 
the Apostle had meant this he would have said, " So also is [the body] 
of Christ," rather than, " So also is Christ." In other words, he would 
have said that the body of Christ, the Church, has many members. 

2. James Faber gathers from this that the body of Christ, being 
indivisibly united to the whole Godhead, locally fills heaven and 
earth, which are, as it were, its place and His body. As Plato said 
that God was the soul of the world, and consequently was in a sense 
the whole world, so the body of Christ, from its intimate conjunction 
with Deity, is, like the Divine Spirit, diffused through the whole 
world, its parts and members are the several divisions of space 
and the bodies contained in it. But still in respect of the unity 
of the Deity, and of the body of Christ as its soul, they make up 
one body, viz., the universe. And hence it is that the Ubiquitarians 
are supposed to have obtained their false opinion that the body of 
Christ is everywhere. This absurd doctrine has been confuted by 


many, but most clearly of all by Gregory of Valentia, in five books 
written against the heresy of the Ubiquitarians. 

3. I say, then, with S. Augustine that the meaning of this passage 
is simply this : So also is Christ one body, i.e., the Church. For 
Christ is both head and body to the Church, inasmuch as He sus- 
tains all her members and works in them all, teaches by the doctor, 
baptizes by the minister, believes through faith, and repents in the 
penitent. For in this sense Christ is not locally but mystically, 
and by way of operation and effectually, the body, hypostasis, soul, 
and spirit of the whole Church. As the Church is the body of 
Christ, its head, so in turn is Christ the body of the Church, because, 
through the operation of His grace. He transfers Himself into all 
the members of the Church. So the Apostle often says that we 
are one in Christ, that through baptism we are incorporated into 
Christ and made one plant with Him. And Christ said to Paul, 
" Why persecutest thou Me ? " that is, the Christians, My members 
(Acts ix. 4). So Paul says again : " To me to live is Christ, to 
die is gain." Therefore S. Francis in his words, " My God, my Love, 
my All," was but echoing S. Paul. 

Ver. 13. — For by one Spirit are we all baptized. He proves that 
Christ is one body with many members from baptism, for by bap- 
tism we were regenerate, and incorporated into the one body of the 
Church, and therefore into Christ. In that body we live by the 
same Spirit, the Spirit of Christ ; and on the same food, the Eucharist, 
we are fed, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, bond or free. Notice 
the phrase "into one body:" this body is the Church, and conse- 
quently we are baptized into Christ, who, as I have said, is in a 
sense the body of the Church. 

And have been all made to drink into one Spirit. In the Eucharistic 
chalice we have quaffed, together with Christ's blood. His Spirit. 
Hence some Greek copies read, " We have all drunk of one draught." 
Cf. Clemens Alex. Padag. lib. i. c. 6. The meaning is that from . 
it we all partake of one and the same Spirit of Christ, who, by ■ -'-X^ 
abiding in all, quickens every member, and makes it perform duly 
its function. In other words, not only were we born and incorpo- 


rated into the said body, but we nil partake of the same food, viz., 
Christ's body and blood, in the Eucharist. For one species of the 
Eucharist leads easily to the other, and by " the drink " we may well 
understand "the food;" just as on the other hand from the species 
of bread we understand that of wine in chap. x. 17. Cf. Chrysostom 
and Cajetan, whose comments here are noteworthy. 

It appears from this that all the baptized, whether good or bad, 
are the body of Christ, that is, are of the Church, and that they have 
been grafted into Him as members by baptism ; for the soul of this 
body, the Church, is the faith which all the faithful have, even though 
their life be evil. Cf. notes to Eph. v. 27. 

Ver. 22. — Nay, much more those me77ibcrs of the body, ivhich seem to 
be more feeble, are necessary. S. Chrysostom and Theophylact think 
that this refers to the eyes, which are small and delicate but yet 
most necessary. But as the eyes have been included in the preced- 
ing verse amongst the nobler members which govern the body, it is 
better to refer it, as others do, to the internal parts of the body. For 
the belly is as the kitchen or the caterer for the whole of the body, 
and cooks and distributes the food for every part, and therefore is 
essential to the life of the body. 

Ver. 23. — And those members pf the body . . . iip07i these we bestow 
7nore abundant honour. The " less honourable " members are the 
feet, say Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Ambrose. We are more 
careful to cover them with shoes, or to bestow ornament upon them, 
lest they be hurt in walking, or catch cold, or in some way convey 
illness to the stomach and head. 

"Honour" here means either covering or the attention bestowed 
upon the feet in the way of decorated boots or leggmgs, such as 
many rich young men, and especially soldiers, wear. Homer, e.g., 
frequently speaks of the " well-greaved Achoeans." 

And our uncomely parts have tnore abundant honour. Chrysostom, 
Ambrose, and Theopylact refer these to the pudenda. These, says 
S. Augustine {^Retract, lib. ii. c. 7), are called uncomely, not because 
nature so made them, but because, since the Fall, lust reigns in them 
more than elsewhere, because lust is contrary to the law of reason. 


and therefore ought to be a cause of shame to man. For it puts 
man to shame when his member so casts off his authority. The 
more abundant honour that they receive is a more careful and comely 
covering, so that even if men anywhere discard clothing, they yet 
cover these parts, as Theophylact says. Moreover, these members 
are honoured in wedlock, as being necessary to the procreation of 
children and the perpetuation of the species, as Chrysostom says. 
Hence, under the Romans, any one who emasculated himself was 
severely punished, as an offender against the common good and a 
violent assailant of nature. 

Others think that the " more feeble " and " less honourable " 
members are identical, and are the belly and its subsidiary organs. 
But the Apostle makes a distinction between them, and connects 
them as distinct entities by the conjunction "and." His meaning 
then is, that as we care for those members of the body which are 
more feeble and ignoble when compared to the rest, and treat them 
as if they were more useful, so, too, in the Church those who seem 
to be of less account, such as the infirm, the unknown, and the 
despised, are for that very reason of more use and should be the 
more carefully helped. So say Chrysostom, Theophylact, Anselm. 
For the use of beggars in the Church, see S. Chrysostom {Horn. 20 
Moral, and also cofitra Invid. Tloni. 31). 

We have an illustration of this verse in the allegory of the belly 
deserted by the other members, by which Menenius Agrippa brought 
back the lower orders who had seceded from the senate of the 
Roman people, and settled on Mons Sacer {Livy, lib. ii. dec. i). 
INIenenius said : " At that time tvJien mcii's members were not so agreed 
as they are now, but each sought its oivn private ends, they say that 
the other parts ef the body ivere indignant that the belly should get its 
wants supplied by their care, their toil, and their ministry, and itself 
rest quietly in the midst, and enjoy the pleastu-cs they gave ; so they 
agreed that the hand would lift no food to the mouth, that the mouth 
wotild not adtnit it if it tvere offered, jior the teeth chezv it. Then while, 
as they thought, that they ivere reducing the belly by hunger, they found 
that each member and the whole body also were brought down to the 


last extremities. They saiv then that the belly had, too, its active 
service, and was not 7/iore nourished by them than they gained from it. 
They saw that the blood, re-invigorated by the food that had been eaten, 
was impartially distributed through the veins ifito every part of the 
body, giving each its life and energy. Then, by drawing a compariso?i 
between the civil war in the body and the angry action of the lower 
orders against the Fathers, Menenius induced thef?i to return." 

Ver. 24. — For our comely parts have no need. The eyes, the face, 
and the hands, which are the more comely parts of the body, lack 
no ornament, but are comely enough in themselves. 

Having given ?nore abundant honour to that part which lacked. Th at 
is more careful guard, more clothing and ornament. Cf. ver. 22. 

Ver. 25. — That there should be 710 schism in the body ; but that the 
members should have the saf?ie care otie for ajwther. No schism, such 
as that related by Menenius, but that all should have the same care 
for the others as for themselves, or else it may mean that each mem- 
ber should be solicitous for the common good of the whole body. 

Ver. 26. — Whether one member suffer all the me??ibers suffer ivith 
it. " They suffer together " in such a way that the suffering member's 
grief is lightened, " not by communion in disaster, but by the solace 
afforded by charity," says S. Augustine {Ep. 133). Hence S. Basil 
{Reg. Brevior. 175) says that the outward proof of love is twofold: 
(i.) rejoicing in the good of one's neighbour and labouring for it ; 
(2.) in grief and sorrow for his misfortune or his sin. He who has 
not this loves not. 

Doctors infer from this verse that souls in bliss, burning with love 
for us, help us by their prayers in our troubles and dangers; and 
that we in our turn ought to help souls kept in purgatory, for they 
suffer the devouring flame, and therefore he must be cruel indeed 
who does not suffer with them, and do what he can to set them free. 

Or one metnber be honoured. Or, as Ambrose takes it, "be glorified," 
or, according to Ephrem, " whether one member rejoice." Salmeron, 
after S. Chrysostom, beautifully says : '^'^ He who loves possesses what- 
ever is in the body, the Church : take atvay envy and what I have is 
thine." S. Chrysostom says again : " Jf the eye suffer, all the member 


will grieve, all ivill cease io act: the feet will not go, the hands will 
not work, the belly will take 710 pleasure in its wonted food, although 
it is the eye only that is suffering. Why, O eye, do you trouble the 
belly? why chain the feet? why bind the hands? Because all are knit 
together by nature, ajid suffer together in a mysterious man7ier." 

Ver. 2 7. — Now ye are the body of Christ, attd members in particular. 
The Latin version gives " members of the member." This is explained 
(i.) by S. Thomas: "You are members of the principal member, 
viz., Christ, for Christ is the head of the Church; (2.) by S. Anselm, 
" You are members of Christ through the agency of another member, 
viz., Paul, by whom you were united to Christ, the head, and to the 
Church, the body." But (3.) the Greek gives " members in part," and 
this is the rendering of some Latin Fathers, or "members of each 
other." S. Ambrose seems to understand it so. The Latin version 
also means "fellow-members," brethren in the same society, of the 
same mystical body, the Church. So too S. Chrysostom and Ephrem, 
whose meaning may be paraphrased : " Each one, in his part and 
place, is a member of die Church." 

Notice here that, as in the body there is (i.) a unity and a union 
of soul and body ; (2.) diversity of members ; (3.) differences of func- 
tion between the several members; (4.) an aptitude for its function 
given to each member ; (5.) a community of interests in the members, 
so that each is bound to work, not for itself only but for the others 
also, just because they are members of the one body; (6 ) harmony, 
inasmuch as each member is content with its rank and duty, does not 
seek another post or envy a more honoured member, so that there 
is the most perfect union and concord, the same share in sorrow and 
joy : so is it in the Church. There each one has from Christ, as if 
He were his soul, his proper gift, his proper talent, his office and rank, 
his functions to be discharged for others' good, not his own, his limits 
fixed by God. If any one disturbs this order and seeks after another 
post, he resists the ordinance and providence of God, and forgets that 
all his gifts have come from God. S. Paul therefore says : " You, O 
Corinthians are members of the same body of Christ, the Church : 
let there not be then any divisions among you, let no one despise, envy, 


or grieve at another, but let him love him, help him, and rejoice with 
him. Let each be content with his place, his rank, and his duty, for 
so he will be a partaker, not only of his own good, but also of the good 
of others. Just as the foot walks for the benefit of the eye, the ear, 
the belly, so in their turn the eye sees, the ear hears, and the belly 
digests for the benefit of the foot. But if there is envy and unwilling- 
ness shown by the eye to see, by the ear to hear, and the belly to 
digest, then those members hurt themselves as much as any other ; 
and, as Chrysostom says, it is just as if one hand were to cut off the 
other, for that hand would be dishonoured and weakened through 
receiving no help from the other hand. Moreover, if nature is at such 
pains to preserve such perfect concord between the different members 
of the body, and so sternly forbids any seditious discord, how much 
greater concord between men's minds will the grace of God through 
its greater power effect, how little will it endure that any member 
should stand aloof from and be at variance with another in the same 
body ! If the magistrate or the king severely punishes sedition in 
the state, what, think you, will Christ do to the schismatics who rend 
His Church? 

Ver. 28. — And God hath set some hi the church, &:c. Apostles as 
the rulers, prophets as the eyes, teachers as the tongue. From this 
it follows that the princes of this world are not, as Brentius thinks, 
the rulers and the head of the Church, but the Apostles and their suc- 
cessors, the Pope and the bishops ; " for God," says S. Paul, " set the 
Apostles first." After that come "powers," i.e., workers of miracles, 
who are as the hands of the Church ; then healers of diseases ; then 
helps, or those who help others and perform works of mercy towards 
the sick, the poor, the unhappy, guests, and foreigners ; then gover- 
ments, or men who rule and correct others, as parish priests, as S. 
Thomas says, or better still, with Theophylact and Cajetan, men who 
have the care of the temporal wealth which the faithful offer to the 
Church. These last are as the feet in the body of Christ, and of 
such were the deacons ordained by the Apostles to look after tables 
and the widows (Acts vi. 1-6). 

Notice the abstract here put for the concrete : " powers " for workers 


of powers, "gifts of healing" for liealers, "helps" for helpers, 
"governments" for governors, ''diversities of tongues" for men 
skilled in different languages. S. Paul knits all these, as other 
members of the Church, to Apostles, prophets, and teachers. 

Ver. 29. — Are all apostles'} Certainly not. Let each, therefore, 
be content with the position in which God has placed him in the 
Church, and with the grace that he has freely received from God, 
and thank God for all, and use the grace given him to God's glory 
and the good of the Church. 

Ver. 30. — Have all the gifts of healing 2 S. Augustine says {Ep. 137) 
that " God, who divides to every vian severally as He will, has not 
7villed that 7niracles should be wrought in ho7iour of every saints It is 
not wonderful then that God should work miracles in this place, in 
this temple, at this or that image of the Holy Mother, or again that 
He should give one grace to one saint, another to another. Those, 
e.g., who invoke S. Antony He sets free from the plague, those 
S. ApoUonia from toothache, those S. Barbara from sudden death, 
and from dying without confession ; for, as the Apostle says, " God 
divides to every man severally as He will." So at the pool of 
Bethesda, and not elsewhere, God miraculously healed the impo- 
tent folk (S. John V. 2-4). So by the rod of Aaron, and of no one 
else. He worked miracles (Num. xvii. 8). So by the image of the 
brazen serpent, and of nothing else. He set free the Jews from the 
plague of fiery serpents (Num. xxi. 9). 

Ver. 31. — But covet earnestly the best gifts. Seek from God, and 
exercise, if you have received them (cf. notes to ver. 8), the more use- 
ful gifts, such as apostleship, prophecy, wisdom, but not such as 
the gift of tongues, which you are in the habit of seeking after and 
of priding yourselves in. So Anselm. Others take the clause in- 
terrogatively, "Do you covet the best gifts? then I will show you a 
more excellent way still." So Chrysostom, Theophylact, CEcumenius. 

And yet show I unto y 021 a more excellent way, viz., the way of 
charity, which is the way to God, to life, and everlasting glory. 

The commentary ascribed to S. Jerome says here that the Apostle 
divides off charity from the gifts of the Spirit, because these latter are 


gratuitously given by God, but charity is acquired by our own efforts 
and natural powers. This shows this commentary not to be S. 
Jerome's, but the work of Pelagius or some Pelagian, as was said 
before. Primasius, who transcribed a good deal of this commentary, 
has shown the falsity of this remark. It appears too that charity is 
the gift of God from Rom. v. 5 : "The love of God is shed abroad 
in our hearts by the Holy Ghost whicii is given unto us.'* Hence 
S. Paul says here that he shows a more excellent way, meaning one 
that excels all others. If, then, the graces gratuitously given are of 
lower rank and are given by God, much more ought charity, which 
is exceedingly better and more excellent than them all, to be sought 
for and to be given from God. The Apostle then fixes the destinc- 
tion between charity and the gifts of the Spirit in the fact that these 
latter are given for the good of the Church, not for the sanctification 
of him to whom they are given, while charity is given to make him 
wlio has it holy and pleasing to God *' He" says S. Augustine {de 
Laud. Char.), " holds both what is patent and what is latent in God's 
sayings who holds charity in his daily life." 


I All gifts, 2, 3 ho-u excellent soever, are nothing worth without charity. 4 The 
p7-aises thereof, and 13 pr elation before hope and faith. 

THOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not 
charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and 
all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, 
and have not charity, I am nothing. 

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my 
body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind ; charity envieth not ; charity vaunteth 
not itself, is not puffed up, 

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, 
thinketh no evil ; 

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth ; 

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all 

8 Charity never faileth : but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail ; 
whether there be tongues, they shall cease ; whether there be knowledge, it shall 
vanish away. 

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be 
done away. 

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought 
as a child : but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I 
know in part ; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three ; but the greatest of these 
is charity. 


i. He points out that of all gifts and graces, charity is the first, and that 

without charity no gift or virtue is of any use. 
ii. He enumerates (ver. 4) the si.xteen conditions of charity, or the modes 

of its manifestation towards our neighbours, 
iii. He shows (ver. S) the eminency of charity from the fact that it will 
remain in heaven, when faith is changed into sight and hope into 



The whole of this chapter is in praise of charity. The Apostle 
treats of charity at such length, not only because charity is the 
queen of all virtues, but also because he wishes by charity, as by a 
most effectual medicine, to cure the pride and divisions of the 
Corinthians ; for charity effects that superiors do not despise in- 
feriors, and that inferiors do not feel bitter when their superiors are 
preferred before them. But, especially, he commends charity to 
them as a most excellent gift, that they may seek it rather than the 
gift of tongues, or of prophecy, or of miracles, which things the 
Corinthians were in the habit of considering most important. And 
this is why, in preparing his passage to charity, he said, at the end of 
the preceding chapter : " Covet earnestly the best gifts : and yet show I 
unto you a more excelletit way," viz., of charity. 

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels. Some hold 
that the tongue of angels is Hebrew, and that this was the tongue used 
by God, the angels, and Adam in Paradise (of which see below, ver. 8). 
Secondly, the Glossa, Durandus, Greg. Ariminensis (in 2 dist. 9, qu. 
2), and Molina (i p. qu. 106 art. i.) think from this passage of the 
Apostle, that angels speak as men, not only by forms impressed on the 
angel who hears, but also by gestures and signs, spiritual signs (since 
they are as it were a kind of spiritual conversation and form of 
speech), imprinted on them at their creation, as the Hebrew tongue 
was imprinted on Adam. Hence Franciscus Albertinus {Lib. Corol- 
lariorum Theologicorum Corollario 11) says that each angel has his 
own proper tongue, different from the tongue of every other angel, 
because the Apostle says, " Though I speak with the tongues of 
angels," not with the tongue. But it seems to follow from hence, 
that if angels make use of those signs and speak to one, they cannot 
conceal them from others ; for nothing natural can practise conceal- 
ment but only that which is free ; but these signs are natural, im- 
printed on them with their nature at their creation. Whence others, 
with S. Thomas, think that angels speak in this way, that they direct 
their thoughts to another, and form a wish to make them known to 
him, and that then, from the meet appointment of God and their 
meeting, a proportionate object is formed, and that this is placed as it 


were within a sphere of knowledge, and becomes intelligible to him, 
to whom they wish to speak, and not to another; so that he and 
and none else sees and understands this object, placed as it were 
before his eyes ; from which some conclude that angels by their 
nature cannot lie. But the contrary seems truer, viz., that thay can 
lie ; because angels can form in their intellect a concept that is false, 
and opposed to the judgment of their mind, and can direct it to 
the other, to whom, in this way, they speak : even as man forms a 
false mode of speech and one opposed to his judgment when he lies. 
For angels do not exhibit to the sight of others the very acts of their 
will in themselves, that is, the very volitions and intentions, but they 
form in their mind concepts of these actions, whether true or false, 
just as they will, and represent them to him to whom they speak. 
But we may leave these points to be more thoroughly disputed and 
settled by the Schoolmen. 

The tongues of angels mentioned here are not therefore addressed 
to the senses, as Cajetan thinks, but to the intellect, since these 
tongues are the very concepts of angels, most perfect and most 
beautiful. The tongues of angels is certainly a prosopopoeia and 
hyperbole, that is, it denotes a most exquisite tongue. So we say 
in common phrase, " He speaks divinely ; " by a similar hyperbole 
it is said " tine face of an angel," that is, a most beautiful face. So 
Theodoret and Theophylact speak, because, as we know, angels are 
most beautiful in themselves, and show themselves such, both in 
appearance and speech, when they assume a body. So therefore 
Paul here, as elsewhere afterwards, speaks on a supposition by 
hyperbole, chiefly for the sake of emphasis. His meaning is — If 
there were tongues of angels surpassing the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, 
and I knew them, but yet did not use them for the good of my 
neighbour, what else would it be but an empty and noisy wordiness ? 
So Gal. i. 8 ; Rom. viii. 39. Paul here points at the Corinthians, 
who were wont to admire the gift of tongues more than other gifts. 

A tinkling cymbal, giving forth an uncertain and confused sound. 
The Greek aAaAa^ov is an onomatopoeia, and denotes sounding 
"alala, alala." So Apion Grammaticus, because of his garrulity, was 


called "the cymbal of the world" (Suetonius, Lib. de Prxdaris 

Ver. 2. — T/iough I have all faith, so that I could retnove 7nou?ttains, 
and have not charity, I aftt nothing. Erasmus thinks that this is a 
hyperbolic fiction, as though he should say, " Charity by far excels 
faith," just as we say, "Virtue alone is the only nobility." But this 
is far too cold ; for in the following verse, speaking of almsgiving 
and martyrdom if charity is wanting, he says, it profiteth me nothing. 
Therefore, / am fiothing imports I am of no value, and have no 
grace in the presence of God ; and in truth, because the righteous 
man is of some account before God, the rest of men, being un- 
righteous, are, in the eyes and estimation of God, as nothing. In 
other words, without charity nothing profiteth, nothing makes friend- 
ship with God ; there is nothing which wins for a man righteousness 
and salvation, not even faith, though it be most great and most 
excellent, so that it can remove mountains, such as Gregory Thau- 
maturgus had, who, by his faith, moved a mount from its place, 
that he might make a place to build a church, as Eusebius narrates 
{Hist. lib. 7, c. 25). 

You will say, therefore. If a penitent exercises himself in good 
works before reconciliation, they profit him nothing. Some answer 
that they profit him, because the penitent, they say, has charity — 
not infused charity which makes righteous, but that charity which 
is a sincere love towards God, by which he longs for reconciliation. 
But this affection is not and cannot be called charity ; for Holy 
Scripture, here and elsewhere, calls charity that most eminent 
virtue, greater than faith and hope, which makes us friends of God. 

Secondly, because the affections of fear, hope, and faith dispose 
to righteousness, therefore they are something, even without the 
affection of that love. I reply. Good works profit the sinner who 
repents nothing, unless charity follow. For so, he says, almsgiving 
profits nothing, as will appear in ver. 3. For disposition by itself 
is useless and of no account unless there follow the form to which it 
disposes ; therefore works without charity are nothing, that is, they 
confer no righteousness or salvation ; and a man without charity is 


nothing so far as the spiritual being is concerned, in which, by super- 
natural regeneration, he receives a supernatural and Divine being, 
and is made a new creature of God, a son and heir of God. Hence 
it follows that faith alone does not justify. 

Beza replies that here faith which works miracles alone is in 
question ; for justifying faith, which lays hold of the mercy of God 
in Christ, can be separated from charity indeed in thought, but not 
in reality, any more than light from fire. But on the other hand, 
since faith which works miracles includes and presupposes faith 
properly so called, which is the beginning of justification (nay, faith 
which works miracles is the most excellent faith, as the Apostle here 
signifies when he says : " Though I have faith so that I could re- 
move mountains "), therefore, if faith which works miracles can exist 
without charity, it will also be able to be justifying faith. Secondly, 
the Apostle says "all faith," which Beza dishonestly translates "whole 
faith : " if all, therefore also justifying. 

Thirdly, the Apostle teaches us (vers. 8 and 13) that faith and 
hope, both theological and justifying, remain in this life only, while 
charity remains also in the future life ; therefore faith is separated 
from charity. So Chrysostom, Anselm, Theophylact, and others; and 
especially S. Augustine (de Trhi. lib. xv. c. 18) says: "Faith, accord- 
ing to the Apostle, can be without charity; it cannot be profitable;" 
and in his sermon on the three virtues — faith, hope, and charity 
(torn. X.), he speaks of charity alone, "that it distinguishes between 
the children of God and the children of the devil, between the 
children of the Kingdom and the children of perdition ;" and again 
{Lib. de Natura et Gratia, c. ult.) he says : "Charity begun is right- 
eousness begun ; charity increased is righteousness increased : charity 
perfected is righteousness perfected." See Bellarmine {de Justifica- 
iiofie, lib. i. c. 15). What faith which works miracles is I have said 
(chap. xii. 9); why the operation of miracles is to be attributed to 
faith D. Thomas teaches {de Potentia, qu. 6, art. 9). 

Ver. 3. — And though I bestoiv all my goods. The Greek verb 
signifies to put into the mouths of children or the sick bread, 
or food, in crumbs as cut up, as I have said (Rom. xii. 20); 

VOL. I. X 


here, however, it denotes to expend all one's substance for such a 

Though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it pro- 
fiteth vie nothing. You will say, Martyrdom, then, can be without grace 
and charity, with sin and damnation. Note firstly, as one can 
give alms, so one can hand over one's body in different ways and 
from different motives, e.g., for one's country, for one's neighbour, 
for correction of the body, from vain glory, or again for the faith, 
for the love of Christ and of God — and then it is martyrdom. 
Secondly, martyrdom is an act springing from the virtue of fortitude, 
ordered often by charity ; still it can be ordered, not by charity, but 
by another virtue, as by religion or obedience ; e.g., if a man offer 
himself to martyrdom, that he may honour God or obey Him. These 
actions, however, flow from a general love of God. Thirdly, martyr- 
dom, from whatever virtue springing, confers justifying grace, even 
the first, from the mere fact of its being wrought, as theologians 
teach ; and consequently it confers charity, nor can it be separated 
from it as from its end. 

I say, then, firstly, that the Apostle speaks in general terms of any 
handing over of the body to be burned : Whether any one does 
it for his country, as Mucius Scasvola did, who, wishing to kill King 
Porsena when he was besieging Rome, made a mistake, and fell 
into the power of his enemies ; then, to show how little he shrank 
from death for his country, he burnt his hand, " In order that you 
may know," he said to Porsena, " how vile is the body in the eyes of 
us who look for glory ; " or whether he do it for empty fame, as 
Pere-^rinus did, who, to obtain for himself an immortal name, threw 
himself at the Olympic games on a pyre to be consumed, as Lucian, 
an eyewitness, testified; or whether any one commit himself to 
fire for the faith of Christ, while at the same time keeping hatred of 
his neighbour, or a desire to commit mortal sin : which martyrdom 
is material, not formal ; for it is then without charity and profiteth 
nothing, as D. Thomas, Anselm, and Theodoret say. 

Hence, I say secondly, that the Apostle also speaks of giving the 
body in material and formal martyrdom, but hypothetically, i.e., if 


martyrdom could be without charity it would profit nothing. So S. 
Chrysostom and Theophylact. Whence Theodoret and S. Basil {Epis. 
75 ad Neoccesarienses) remark that there is here a hyperbole. But, if 
you wish, the Apostle speaks, not merely hypothetically, but absolutely. 

I say thirdly, martyrdom antecedently, wvhether from the mere 
fact of being wrought, in so far as its work is regarded in itself, or 
in so far as the merit of him who suffers martyrdom is regarded, can 
be without charity, e.g., if one living in mortal sin is willing to die 
for the faith of Christ, when as yet he has not charity, martyrdom 
profits him nothing. Nevertheless, in consequence, from the mere 
fact of its being wrought, in his end martyrdom always brings 
charity ; for, from the very fact that any one, even a sinner, is killed 
for the faith, charity and righteousness are infused into him as if 
from the very act itself, and in this way martyrdom eminently profits. 
In this way, therefore, the sense of the Apostle will be, Martyrdom 
profiteth nothing unless charity go before, follow after, or accompany 
it, whether as the source or the end and effect of martyrdom. So 
D. Thomas, Cajetan, and Francisco Suarez (p. 3, qu. 69, disp. 29, sec 
2). Anselm says: "Without charity nothing profits, however ex- 
cellent ; with charity everything profits, however vile, and becomes 
golden and Divine." 

It profiteth me nothing. I am not helped, I receive no benefit, 
i.e., towards justification and salvation. So Ephrem. "So great is 
charity that, if it be wanting, other things are reckoned vain ; if it 
be present, we possess all," says S. Augustine (torn. iii. Sententia, 326). 

Ver. 4.- — Charity SJtffereth long arid is kind. Ambrose reads: 
"Charity is high-souled" (so also S. Cyprian and Tertullian, de Fatien- 
tid, c. 12, read), " and is pleasing." Note, charity is long-suff'ering, not 
formally, but in the way of cause, because it produces patience and 
kindness; because patience, as well as kindness, is an act not elicited 
but ordered by charity. Tertullian (de Patientia, c. 2) beautifully 
teaches that no virtue is perfect which has not patience as its com- 
panion, and so in all the beatitudes which Christ (in S. Matt, v.) 
enumerates, patience also must be understood. He teaches also 
(c. 12) that the treasures of charity are held in by tlic discipline of 


patience, and that charity herself is taught by patience as her 
mistress; for, expounding these words of the Apostle, "charity 
suffereth long," he says : Love, the great jnystery of the faith, by 
whose training is she taught save by that of patience ? Love,'" he, 
says, "w high-souled, so she adopts patience ; she does good, so patience 
works no evil; envieth not — that also is the property of patience ; 
savours nothing of wantonness — she has drawn her modesty from 
patience ; is not puffed up, behaves not unseemly — for that belongs not 
to patience. But what would he have left to ifnpatience ? Therefore he 
says, ' Love beareth all things, endureth all things,'' that is, because she is 

Hence S. Augustine ide Moribus Eccl. c. 15) then defines fortitude: 
" Fortitude is love bearing easily all things for God's sake." In like 
manner he defines by love the three other cardinal virtues, that 
they are different forms of love. " JVe may say," he says, "that 
temperance is love preserving itself pure and uncorrupt for God ; that 
justice is love, serving God only, and for the same cause duly ordering 
other things which have been placed under man ; that prudence is love, 
rightly discerning bettveen those things by tvhich God is served, and 
by which His service is hindered." Again (c. xxii.) he says : " That 
love which we must have towards God, inflamed with all holiness, is 
called tejnperate in things that ought not to be sought for, and brave in 
things which ca?i be lost'' And shortly afterwards : " There is nothing 
so hard, so steely, ivhich cannot be overcome by the fire of love. By love, 
when the soul hastens towards God, rising above the defilement of the 
fiesh, it will fly, freely and wonderfully, on fnost beautiful afid most 
chaste wings, by tvhich pure love strives for the embrace of God." Every 
virtue therefore is love and charity, viz., an act of charity not elicited 
but ordered, because it is ordered, directed, formed, and perfected 
by charity. Add to this that virtue by itself is love of good. Such 
was the charity of Christ on the Cross towards His crucifiers, about 
which S. Bernard {Sermon de Passione Domini) says: '■'■He was 
smitten with scourges, crowned zvith thorns, pierced with nails, fastened 
to the Cross, laden with reproaches ; yet, heedless of all pains, He cried, 
* Forgive them, for they knoiv not tchat they do.' How ready art 


Thou to forgive, O Lord! How great is the 77iultitude of Thy sweet 
mercies I How far are Thy thoughts from our thoughts ! Hoivis Thy 
mercy established on the wicked/ A wondrous thing! He cries, '•For- 
give;^ ihe/etvs, ' Crucify ;'' His words were softer than butter, and they 
are as darts. Oh, suffering charity, but also longsuffering. ' Charity 
suffer eth lofig ' — // is enough ; ' charity is kind ' — // is the crowning-point. 
Because charity is kind, she loves also those zvhom she tolerates, and loves 
them so ardently.^ And a little lower : " O fetvs, ye are stones, but ye 
strike a softer stone, from which is given back the sound of piety, from 
which pours forth the oil of charity. How, O Lord, wilt Thou give 
drink to those who thirst for Thee of the torrent of Thy joy, who so 
overivhehnest those who crucify Thee with the oil of Thy mercy ! " 

Envieth not. For, as S. Gregory says {Hotn. v. in Evang.\ '■'■the 
good will which charity begets is one that fears others misfortunes as its 
02vn, which rejoices in the prosperity of its 7ieighbour as in its own, 
believes others' losses as its oivn, and reckons others'' gains as its own.'' 
The reason is, because charity does not regard my things and 
thine, but those which are God's. For, as S. Gregory says {ibid.), 
" whatever we desire in this world, we envy to our 7ieighbour,'" for we 
seem to lose what another gains. For this cause charity is cold 
where lust is bold. On the contrary, when brotherly love reigns, 
then lust lives an exile ; for, as S. Augustine says {de Doctr. Christ. 
lib. iii. c, 10), '■'■the jnore the kingdom of lust is destroyed, the more 
charity is increased.^' 

Does nothing zvrongly. Perversely, wantonly, maliciously. Some 
interpret the Greek, "does not chatter idly,** " Vatablus, "does not 
flatter;" Clement {Pccdag. c. ii.), " does not paint her face or adorn her 
head overmuch." '■'■For worship," says Clement, '■'issaidto act unseemly 
which opC7ily shoivs superfluity a/id usefulness ; for excessive striving 
after adorti/zient is opposed to God, to reason, a7id to charity.''' Cajetan 
interprets the word : " is not i/ico/istant ; " Theophlact, " is not head- 
stro7ig, fickle, rash, stubborn f Fphrem, ^'- is not riotous.''' Theophy- 
lact again, " dotli 7iot exalt itself So also S. Basil seems to interpret 
it. " What," he asks, ^'^ does this word (TrepirepeveTai) mean ?" which 
the Latin translator of Basil renders : " What do we mean by being 


boastful and arrogant without cause ? " He replies : " That which 
is assumed, not from necessity hut for the sake of superfluo'is adorn- 
ment, incurs the charge of unseemliness." But from these words it is 
evident that the translator has r.ot followed the mind of S. Basil, 
and that Basil did not mean boasting and foolish arrogance, but 
painting and excessive adornment, as did Clement of Alexandria in the 
place just cited. Best of all, Chrysostom understands it : " Charity is 
not forward or wanton, as is the carnal love of lascivious men, wanton 
women, and harlots." Whence TertuUian {de Fatietttia, c. xii.) says, 
"Charity makes not wanton." 

Ver. 5. — Is not ambitious. Ephrem translates it : " Does not commit 
what is shameful" Clement (/'^^a^. lib. iii. c. i) : " Doth not behave 
itself unseemly." Our translator, with Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theo- 
phylact, CEcumenius, takes it thus : Charity thinks that nothing is 
dishonouring or unbecoming to it, though it suffer or do what is 
vile, ignominious, or degrading. Or more shortly : Charity is not 
ashamed, because it is ambitious of nothing, and of no honour 
Our translator therefore has, from the effect, understood and ren- 
dered the cause — the cause why any one is not ashamed is, because 
he seeks for no honour or glory. Whence Chrysostom and 
Theophylact think that this is said by Paul against the arrogant. 
" Charity," says Chrysostom, " knoivs not what dishonour and disgrace 
are ; she covers with her witigs of gold the vices of all whom she etn- 
braces." So the love of Christ did not spurn or reject harlots, 
scourgings, or washing of men's feet. .S. Basil understands it {in 
Regul. Brev. Reg. 246): ^'•Charity doth not depart from her habit 
and form" But CEcumenius : " Charity doth not treat bitterly as a 
prisoner the man who is her enemy." 

Thinketh no evil, i.e., charity, if she is provoked by any one, does 
not reckon up the injury nor seek revenge, but conceals it, excuses 
it, forgives it. For the Greek word, as Vatablus and the Greeks 
understand it, is, imputes not his evil to any one. 

Ver. 6 — Refoiceth in the truth. In the truth, not so much of speech 
and mind as of life, i.e., of righteousness. In other words, charity, 
when it sees its neighbours living justly and rightly and making 


advance, does not envy them, but rejoices and is glad, as though it 
were its own advance, as Ansehn says from S. Gregory ; for truth 
here is opposed to iniquity. Therefore truth here is equity, upright- 
ness, righteousness. The Greeks understand it otherwise : Charity 
does not rejoice, but grieves when it sees an enemy suffering anything 
wron^dy or unjustly ; and it rejoices in the truth if it sees his own 
given to him. 

Ver. 7. — Beareth all i/ihigs. Like a beam which sustains an 
imposed weight, or rather, like a palm-tree, wiiich does not yield 
under its own weight, but, like an arch, is the more strong. Rightly 
says Augustine {i/t Se7itentiis, sec. 295) : " The fortitude of the Gentiles 
comes from tvordly lust, but the fortitude of the Christians from the 
love of God which was shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, 
who was given to us, not by any determination of our ozvn will. " 

Believeth all things, i.e., charity is not suspicious, but readily gives 
credence to others where it can prudently believe without danger of 
error. Therefore Paul says, " bca?rfh all things, believeth all things, 
hopeth all things, cndureth all things.''^ That is to say, charity bears 
all evils and all injuries, believes and is persuaded of the best about 
its neighbour, hopes for all good things for its neighbour, and 
endures from him evil words and blows. So Chrysostom and the 
Greeks. Anselm, S. Thomas, and Lyra explain the words differently. 
Charity makes us believe what ought to be believed, hope for 
what we ought, and await it with patience; for otherwise in 
some cases that saying of Seneca is true, " It is a vice to believe 
everything and a vice to believe nothing." So also S. Augustine 
explains it ; and from these words of the Apostle he makes a chariot 
for charity, namely, of the four virtues of charity, faith, hope, patience, 
perseverance. In his sermon on the four virtues 01 charity he thus 
speaks: '■'■Every one who devoutly bears rightly believes, and evay one 
who rightly believes hopes for someivhat, and he who hopes perseveres, lest 
he should lose hope ;'' for the Apostle in this whole passage is treating 
of the offices of charity, not towards God, but towards our neigh- 
bour, and is showing how charity manifests itself in all cases to him. 

Chrysostom ren^.arks {Flom. xxxiv.) that there nre here sixteen 


benefits and fruits of charity, which he sets up as remedies for the 
diseases of the Corinthians: ''■Charity, he says, " is paiiefit, con- 
demning the quarrelsome ; kifid, condeffifiing the factious and stealthy ; 
envies not, against those who are bitter against their superiors ; is not 
wanton — he lays hold of the dissolute; is not puffed tip — the proud ; 
is 7wt haughty, against those who will not abase themselves and serve 
their neighbour; seeketh not her own, agaitist those who despise others ; 
is not provoked^thinketh no evil against those who ififlict insults ; 
rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth, against the envious. 
Again, ' beareth all things,' is for a solace to those who are henwied in 
by foes and down-trodden ; ' hopeth all things' is for a solace to those 
who are rejected and despaired of; ' endureth all things and never 
faileth' is against those who, for a slight cause, foster divisiofis." S. 
Gregory thus describes these offices of charity {Morals, book x. 
c. 8) : " Charity is patient, because it bears calmly all evils that may 
be ififlicted ; is kind, because it boimtifully repays good for evil ; envieth 
not, because, from the fact that it seeks for tiothing in this present 
world, it k?wws ?iot how to be envious at earthly successes ; is not 
puffed up, because, since it eagerly longs for the promised inward re- 
ward, it does not exalt itself on the score of outward advantages ; does 
nothifig amiss, because it confines itself to the love of God and of its 
neighbour, and is ignorant of whatever departs from rectitude; is not 
ambitious, because it ardently seeks within for its own perfection, 
and covets without no man's goods ; seeketh not its own, because it 
disregards, as though they were a?iother's, all things which here for 
a brief time it possesses, since it recognises that nothing is its own 
save what abides permaftently ; is not provoked, because, though stirred 
up by injuries, it is roused to no motions of revenge, since for great 
sufferings it expects hereafter greater rewards ; thinketh no evil, 
because purity stablishes a mind in love, while it plucks up all hatred 
by the roots, and cannot dwell in a soul which is defied ; rejoiceth not 
in iniquity, for it yearns with love alo7ie for all, afid does not rejoice 
in the fall of its enemies ; but rejoiceth in the truth, because, loving 
others as itself it rejoices in that which it sees good in others, as though 
it were an increase of its own perfection.'" 


A soul on fire with charity is Hke the sky ; for as the wide- 
spreading sky embraces the whole earth, and warms and fertilises 
it by the sun, and waters it by its showers, even places bristling with 
thorns, so such a soul embraces with its charity the inhabitants of 
the whole earth, though they be barbarians or foes, and does good 
to whom it can, and waters and cherishes with its sweetness those 
who bristle with the thorns of hatred and of vice. 

Ver. 8. — Charity never faileth. It suffers no death; it will never 
cease : other gifts will cease in the heavenly glory. Heretics infer 
from this that, if charity never faileth, he who has it cannot sin, and 
is assured of his salvation. I reply, I deny the consequence. For 
charity never faileth, viz., by itself; for of its own accord it never de- 
serts a man, unless it be first through sin deserted by him. " Charity^;'' 
says Cassian {Collat. iii. c. 7), " is one who never suffers her follower to 
fall by sift supplanting her." So long, therefore, as you give yourself 
to charity and will to keep her, you will never sin ; but if you sin, it 
is not that charity in itself fails, but you yourself eject her by force. 

Whether there be prophecies they shall fail. Not so much because 
of their obscurity as because they were here given to meet the im- 
perfection of those who heard them, in order that they, being more 
untaught, might be taught by prophecy and tongues. Thus in heaven 
faith shall cease, because it is imperfect through lack of evidence, 
and hope, because it is imperfect through the absence of the thing 
hoped for ; but charity has nothing of these, but is perfect in itself, 
and therefore will remain in heaven. 

Whether tongues they shall cease. He does not say language shall 
cease but languages, because in heaven there will be no variety of 
tongues, but language there will be ; for we shall with one accord 
praise God, not only in mind but also with perceptible language. 
Haymo, Remigius, Cajetan here, Galatinus {de Arc. Fidei, lib. xii. 
c. 4), Viguerius {in Jnstit. c. ix. ver. 8), where iie treats of the gift of 
tongues, all teach that the one tongue which we shall all use in 
heaven will be Hebrew, which Adam used in his state of innocence, 
which all the patriarchs, prophets, and saints before Christ, nay, 
which the whole world used before its dispersion and confusion of 


tongues at Babel. Hence in the Apocalypse, though written in 
Greek, it is said that the saints in heaven will sing in Hebrew 
"Amen, Alleluia." For since in heaven all sin will have been 
banished, the confusion of tongues will be done away with ; and as 
we shall return to the primeval state of innocence, so shall we to 
its language, and to the one and first speech. Certainly, if any one 
of those tongues which we use on earth remain in heaven, I should 
think it would be Hebrew. But it is not plain that any will remain ; 
for the Apostle only says that tongues will cease, which may mean 
that all which are now in use among men are to cease. Never- 
theless, it is consistent with this that in heaven another sensible 
tongue may be infused anew into the blessed, a celestial tongue, 
one far more perfect than any we have here, one befitting their mouth 
and glorified body, and with this they will in a bodily manner praise 
God. Whether this be more true, a blessed experience will teach us. 
John Salas. (in i, 2, tom. i. qu. 5, art. 5, tract. 2 disp. 14, sect. 14, 
n. 106) thinks that is more likely. His reason is that the Hebrew 
tongue is wanting in sweetness, fulness, and perspicuity, and there- 
fore it is not worthy to be retained after the General Resurrection. 
In heaven there will be an elect speech, as Wisdom says (cap. iii. 9), 
that is, a special tongue pre-eminently sweet, terse, and perspicuous, 
common to all nations, to be taught by God. Hence S. Bernard 
says {in Medit. c. iv.) : "The unwearied rejoicing of all will be with 
one tongue," &c. There will not be in the peace of heaven any 
diversity of tongues, viz., for common use. Beyond this, however, 
they will speak, when they wi^h, with other tongues ; for all will 
have the gift of tongues, and will know all idioms by Divine revela- 
tion. Salmeron and others add that in heaven it is meet for God 
to be worshipped with all kinds of tongues ; for it seems to tend 
to the greater glory of God, that every tongue confess that our Lord 
Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. And so all tongues 
will be one, for they will feel and proclaim the same thing, as Martial 
{Epigrmn i.), in flattery of Ceesar, said — 

" The voices of the nations sound unlike, yet they are one, 
For you are proclaimed by all, true father of your country." 


Whether there be knowledge it shall vafu'sh azvay. This knowledge, 
as Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact say, is that which is im- 
perfect, obscure, and enigmatical, as Paul calls it in ver. 12, e.g., 
faith and all that depends on faith. Of this kind is our theological 
knowledge, which draws its conclusions from the principles of the 
faith : all this will cease in heaven. For theology there will be of 
a different appearance, being most clear, drawn from the vision of 
God and from the clearest principles. So say Cajetan, Molina, 
Vasquez, and others, in the beginning of the first part. 

Observe that the Apostle is speaking rather of the act of know- 
ledge than of its habit; and therefore he adds: '■'■ For we kiiow in 
part, and 7ve prophesy iti part ;" and : " JVhen 1 7vas a child J thought 
as a child ; " and : " Now I knoiv in pari, then shall I knoiv even as also 
Jam hnozvn." Still, from the cessation of the act he leaves it to be 
collected that the habit will cease ; for the habit will be of no 
avail if there is no use for it; for it will not issue in action. And 
this he signifies by the words "shall fail " and "shall vanish away," 
which imply that knowledge, prophecy, and tongues, simply, both 
as regards act and habit, are to perish. Secondly, Photius explains 
the passage not amiss thus : Knowledge, i.e., teaching and learn- 
ing shall fail, for in heaven we shall neither teach nor learn. 
Thirdly, others say that knowledge here is science, or the use of 
scientific terms, by which the realities of faith are illustrated and 
explained, by means of natural sciences. 

Ver, 9. — For we know in part and we prophesy in part, i.e., im- 
perfectly. Ephrem turns it: "We know but little of much;" for 
the Apostle opposes what is little and imperfect, what we know 
partly by reason, partly by prophecy, to what is perfect (ver. 10), i.e., 
to the perfect vision and knowledge of God in himself, and of all 
things in God, It is certainly true that the whole being of God, 
and all His attributes and i)erl'cctions, we do not know in this life, 
but all the blessed know them, and they alone. He proves this 
from the example of a boy, who grows both in age and knowledge. 
For the blessed are in knowledge as men, and we in it as boys. 
Again, our theological knowledge, though it is certain, is yet hidden 


and obscure ; it leans on faith, and for that reason alone it is in 
part or imperfect. The blessed, however, know all things clearly 
and intuitively, nay, they see and behold face to face. 

Ver. II. — IVhen I ivas a child, that is, one who is now beginning 
to say, think, plan, attempt, study, play, and do anything, as our 
children are wont to do. 

/ spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. I 
understood as a child, or felt as a child ; for children have not 
wisdom, but feeling. In other words, when a child I thought, and 
understood, and felt as a child, but when I became a man I thought 
and understood as a man does. So, ivhen that ivhich is perfect is 
come, i.e., perfect wisdom in heaven, partial and imperfect know- 
ledge, as we have it in this life, shall fail ; so that we who here are 
boys in knowledge are to be men in heaven. S. Paul leaves the 
remaining part of the likeness to be supplied from the verse before. 

Ver. 12. — For 7iow we see through a glass ifi an efiigma : but then 
face to face. We see, i.e., God and heavenly things, by which we 
may be saved and be happy, as appears from what follows. You 
will say : If we see God here in a mirror, we see Him clearly and 
not in an enigma, for a mirror exhibits to the eyes, not an image of 
the object, as is commonly supposed, but the very object itself, I 
reply : It is true that a mirror exhibits to the eyes the object itself, 
yet it does so, not by a direct ray but reflected; and therefore it 
represents the object, not properly, clearly, distinctly, but as from a 
distance, obscure and confusedly. Such is the knowledge of God 
and of Divine things which we have in this life, but in heaven we 
shall see God as He is, face to face, directly, closely, clearly. 

Secondly, the Greek word denotes that which we look through 
as a means of seeing anything, such as the spectacles of old men, 
an eye-glass, or green glass which is placed over a writing, that it 
may help weak eyes in reading, nevertheless, it makes things look 
green, dark, and obscure. Such a glass, properly speaking, makes 
the letters to be seen, not in themselves immediately, but by an 
obscure medium and by a shadowy likeness, or, as the Apostle says, 
in an enigma. Such a glass may be meant here. 


Thirdly, some interpret the word, " through a screen ; " for, as 
merchants show their wares in their shops through glass screens to 
those who pass by, not close at hand and distinctly, but from a 
distance, in the mass and confusedly, so does God show Himself to 
us in this life. 

You will ask. What is this mirror by which we see God and 
Divine things here in an enigma ? I reply. Firstly, the creatures 
which act as a mirror to represent their Creator. So S. Thomas 
teaches. Secondly, the phenomena of nature, which are the mirrors 
of realities. Thirdly, the humanity of Christ and its mysteries, 
which veil and set forth His Divinity. Again, the sacraments and 
other rites and ceremonies. So S. Theodoret says : " Ifi holy baptism 
we see a figicre of the resurrectmi ; there we shall see the resurrec- 
tion itself. Here we see the symbols of the Lord's body, there the Lord 
Himself ; for so the words face to face imply. We shall see^ hozvever, 
not His Divine nature, which Jio eye caji take in, but that ivhich tvas 
assiuned ofusi" In these last words of Theodoret an error of his must 
be guarded against, for he seems to say that in heaven we shall see 
the humanity only of Christ, because he says the Divine nature 
cannot be seen. But the excuse can perhaps be made that he is 
speaking only of corporal vision, of which it is true to say, that with 
the eyes of the body we shall see the humanity only of Christ. But 
this is outside the mind of the Apostle, for he is treating of the 
beatific vision, especially of the Divinity. 

Jfi an ejiigma, i.e., according to Anselm, by an obscure speech 
thought, or imagination. For an enigma is a question which is pro- 
posed in involved terms. 

Then face to face. He alludes to Moses (Exod. xxxiii. 2 ; Num. xii. 8). 

" N 02V J know in part" (imperfectly, as I have said, ver. 9), "but theft 
shall I kjiozv evett as also I am knoivn." That is. Then in heaven I 
shall perfectly know and see God, as He is in His essence, and all 
other mysteries of God and the faith, even as He knows me and sees 
what I am in my essence. So Anselm, Theophylact, Cajetan, Am- 
brose, and Theodoret. '■'■L shall know," he says, '•'■even as J am known," 
as a well-known and familiar friend clearly sees the face of his friend. 


S. Augustine extends these words of the Apostle to a knowledge also 
of what takes place here on earth, and of what relates to the state of 
any saint. Hence he proves from this place that the saints under- 
stand in heaven our affairs more perfectly than they once did on 
earth ; whence it follows that they hear the prayers with which we 
invoke them {de Civ. Dei, lib. xxii. c. 29). Chrysostom and CEcum. 
understand it otherwise. Then, they say, shall I know what concerns 
action : I shall hasten to Him through love and righteousness, even 
as He prevented and went before me with His grace. Thirdly, 
others interpret it thus : Then shall I know with that degree of per- 
fection to which I was known and predestinated for eternity by God. 
But the first sense is the genuine one ; for he opposes knowledge, 
which is clear and full, to that which is in part, i.e., imperfect and 

Ver, 13. — Now abide faith, hope, charity. S. Paul in this chapter 
clearly teaches that faith, hope, and charity abide in this present life, 
but charity alone in our heavenly country. So the Fathers hold. See 
Gregory de Valentia, disp. qu. 5 de Siibjedo Fidei, part 2). 

You will say, Irenseus (ii. c. 47), Tertullian {de Fatientid, c. xii.) 
understand "now" of heaven; therefore in heaven there will be, 
and will abide, both faith and hope. 

I reply : These Fathers understand by faith all sure knowledge, 
such as the vision of God ; by hope, a firm adherence to God, as the 
object of love, which is the enjoyment of God. For this is what 
Tertullian says : " There abide faith, hope, love .-faith which the patience 
of Christ had begotte?i ; hope which the patience of man waits for ; love 
which, with God as her teacher, patience accompatiies.^^ But these are 
not to the purpose of the Apostle, as is evident. 

The greater, of these is charity. Greater, i.e., the greatest. So 
Catullus : — 

" Hesperus, light more fair, which shinest in heaven.'' 

that is, fairest star. 

Hence it is plain that faith is not the confidence of heretics in the 
remission of their sins ; for that confidence is nothing else but a 
strong hope : if it is more it is properly called faith, by which you 


believe most firmly that you have been justified and saved, as 
you believe that God is ; then hope is superfluous. For what you 
firmly believe you do not, nor can hope for, as, e.g., you do not hope 
that God is, that Christ sufi'ered for us. For hope whicii truly is 
hope is allied to fear and dread as its opposites ; there is nothing of 
this kind in faith. The Apostle just above distinguishes hope or 
confidence from faith, and requires in this life hope as well as faith ; 
therefore faith is not that confidence of which heretics make their 

Lastly, it is plain that of all virtues charity is the greatest and 
most eminent ; for, as fire among the elements, gold among the 
elements, the empyrean among the heavens, the sun among the 
planets, the seraphim among the angels, so shines charity as the 
queen among virtues. For charity is the celestial fire which kindles 
the souls of all around it : the most glittering gold with which we 
purchase our heavenly inheritance ; the highest heaven in which 
God and the blessed dwell ; the sun which illuminates, fertilises, 
quickens all ; the seraphic virtue which makes the seraphim glow. 
(See on Deut. vi. 5.) Beroald says: "As is the helmsman in a 
ship, the ruler in a state, the sun in the world, so is love among 
mortals. Without a helmsman the ship is shattered, without a ruler 
the state is endangered, without the sun the world is darkened, and 
without love life is no life. Take love from men, you take the sun 
from the world." Plautinus happily calis love a purifying God, that 
is, making all things pure and beautiful. 


1 Prophecy is commended, 2, 3, 4 and preferred before speaking with tongues, 6 
by a comparison drawn from vnisical instruments. 12 Both must be referred 
to edification, 22 as to their true and proper end. 26 The true use of each is 
taught, 27 and the abuse taxed. 34 IVomcn are forbidden to speak in the 

FOLLOW after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may 

2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but 
unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh 

3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, 
and comfort. 

4 He that speaketh in an tcnknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that pro- 
phesieth edifieth the church. 

5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied : for 
greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he 
interpret, that the church may receive edifying. 

6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I 
profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or 
by prophesying, or by doctrine ? 

7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except 
they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or 
harped ? 

8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the 
battle ? 

9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, 
how shall it be known what is spoken ? for ye shall speak into the air. 

10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of 
them is without signification. 

11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that 
speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. 

12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual ^y?j-, seek that ye may 
excel to the edifying of the church. 

13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an tcnktiown tongue pray that he may 

14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understand- 
ing is unfruitful. 

15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the under- 
standing also : I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 



i6 Else when thou shalt bless with tlie spirit, how shall he that occupleth the 
room of the unlearned say Amen at tliy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth 
not what thou sayest ? 

17 For Ihou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. 

18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all : 

19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, 
that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an 
tmknown tongue. 

20 Brethren, be not children in understanding : howbeit in malice be ye 
cliildren, but in understanding be men. 

21 In the law it is written. With ntai (pother tongues and other lips will I speak 
unto this people ; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. 

22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them 
that believe not : but prophesying sa-vcih not for them that believe not, but for 
them which believe. 

23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all 
speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, 
will they not say that ye are mad ? 

24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or ojie un- 
learned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all : 

25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest ; and so falling down 
on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. 

26 How is it then, brethren ? when ye come together, every one of you hath 
a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. 
Let all things be done unto edifying. 

27 If any man speak in an wiknoTvn tongue, let it be by two, or at the most 
by three, and that by course ; and let one interpret. 

28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church ; and let 
him speak to himself, and to God. 

29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge^ 

30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace, 

31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be 

32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 

33 For God is not the author oi confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of 
the saints. 

34 Let your women keep silence in the churches : for it is not permitted unto 
them to speak ; but they are comniayidcd to be under obedience, as also saith the 

35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home : for 
it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 

36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? 

37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge 
that the things that I write unto you are the commanilments of the Lord. 

3S But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. 

39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with 

40 Let all things be done decently and in order. 

VOL. I. Y 



i. He puts prophecy before the gift of tongues, because (a) it is of great use 
in edifying others, and tongues are not, unless some one interpret ; 
(i^) because (ver. 21) prophecy is given to the faithful, while tongues are 
a sign to them that believe not, and he proves this from Isaiah xxviii. 

ii. He gives a rule for the due use of these gifts, and lays down laws to be 
observed in the meeetings of the Church for public worship ; amongst 
other things he bids (ver. 34) women keep silence always. 

The Apostle began in chap. xii. to treat of the various gifts of the 
Spirit, which He distributes to whom He wills and as He wills ; and 
then, to take away all boasting from the Corinthians about these gifts, 
and especially about the gift of tongues, he exhorted them, in chap, 
xiii., to follow after charity as the queen of all graces and gifts ; he 
now, in this chapter, returns to consider these gifts, and points out 
that not only charity but also prophecy excels the gift of tongues. 

The question arises, What does S. Paul mean in this chapter by 
prophecy and what by a prophet? This is the chief difficulty to be 
met with here. 

The word "prophet," properly speaking, denotes one who, by revela- 
tion from God, foretells an event before it comes to pass. The word 
is of Greek, not Latin, origin, coming from two words denoting to 
speak beforehand, as though the prophet saw an event before it 
happened. This is the origin of the word. Like most words, it 
then acquired a secondary meaning, and was extended to signify one 
who reveals the secrets of the heart or other mysteries, and one 
especially who knows the will of God, and becomes His interpreter 
and messenger to others, and who sees and proclaims the mysteries 
of the mind and will of God. So Abraham, from being admitted 
to familiar intercourse with God, was honoured with the title of 
prophet (Gen. xx. 7). 

Hence prophecy generally in Scripture is the power of knowing 
more fully and more surely than is given to most men the counsels 
and determinations of God, and also of proclaiming them for 
the purpose of edifying the Church, 'lliis power is inspired by the 


Holy Spirit into some men, who are hence called prophets. A part 
of this power consists in a prevision and prediction of future events, 
or even of any hidden things, whether past or future. Another part 
of it, and one that is far more important and more exalted, one not 
derived from study but inspired by the same Spirit, consists in dis- 
coursing more ably and more divinely of the being and attributes 
of God. If it were derived from study, it would be knowledge and 
doctrine, not prophecy ; and so S. Paul, who received his Gospel, 
not from man but by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal. i. 12), 
taught and preached rather from a constant flow of prophecy than 
of doctrine. 

1. They then are called prophets who, under the direction of the 
Holy Spirit, forth-tell future events or hidden mysteries. 

2. Those teachers only who so exhort to piety are to be called 

3. Those too received the name of prophets who were borne along 
by a Divine impulse to praise God with hymns and to provoke the 
people to devotion. So, in i Sam. x., the Spirit of God came on 
Saul and he prophesied; and again, in chap, xix., he laid aside his 
clothes and lay down naked, singing his prophecies a whole day and 
night. Again, since Elijah and Elisha had disciples, who at fixed 
times, like men devoted to religion, occupied themselves more 
zealously than others in singing psalms, in prayers and praises, in 
investigating, meditating on, and teaching the law, and since they 
sometimes were carried away by the power of the Spirit, as, e.g., he 
who anointed Jehu — hence all these were called prophets, and their 
sons or disciples were called sons of the prophets. Frequent men- 
tion of them is made in 2 Kings. They were especially so called 
because among them were some true prophets. 

4. Hence the name of prophet is extended to any singers, so that 
to prophesy is the same as to play, or to sing anything in praise of 
God. So, in i Chron. xxv. i, the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, 
and of Jeduthun are said to prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and 
with cymbals. Still among them there were prophets indeed, such 
as the leaders of the singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, who, 


under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, composed the psalms that 
bear their names, as the Hebrews hand down to us by tradition. 

(5.) By an abuse of the word, those are called prophets who, under 
the influence of some evil spirit, lose their self-control, and utter 
idiotic and frensied sounds. So, in i Sam. xviii. 9, it is said that 
" an evil spirit of God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the 
midst of his house," i.e., he spoke and acted as one demented, 
like one filled with frensy. Hence the heathen called their poets 
seers and prophets, because they seemed borne along by the irresis- 
tible power of the Muses, as, e.g., the Sibyls in composing and singing 
their songs. So Ovid {Fasti, lib, vi. 5.) says — 

" God is within us, enkindling us to song, 
And fanning into flame the sparks of heavenly truth." 

So, in Titus, i. 21, the poet Epimenides is called a prophet. 

(6.) " To prophesy " also denotes the working of miracles ; for 
this was the work of prophets, who were holy men, gifted from above, 
and like organs of God and of His wisdom and power. So, in 
Ecclus. xlviii., the dead body of Elisha is said to have prophesied, 
because by its touch it raised a man from the dead (2 Kings xiii. 21). 
The word "prophet " is so used in S. Luke vii. 16. 

(7.) To prophesy is to confirm prophecy. So, in Ecclus. xhx., 
the bones of Joseph are said to have prophesied after his death, viz., 
when they were carried with the Israelites out of Egypt, and so 
testified silently that the prophecy about them was true. 

From all these it is evident that prophecy, strictly speaking, is 
that gift which was frequently given before Christ came, as well as 
in the Primitive church, but which now for the most part has ceased, 
and is only vouchsafed to a very few men, for a testimony to their 
exceptional holiness. The frequency of such gifts Avas miraculous, 
and came almost to an end with the Apostles ; that is to say, they 
are not now given, as then, promiscuously, but to very few and very 
seldom. It was the purpose of the Lord that those miracles should 
shine forth brightly, to draw the attention of the heathen to the Gospel, 
and to convince them of its truth. Now, however, that the faith has 


been well grounded and the world converted, He withdraws them 
and bids the Church depend for her growth and perfection on the 
usual instruments of teaching and exhortation. Cf. Jansenius {^Con- 
cordia^ c. 47). 

A second question arises, Which of these various meanings does S. 
Paul apply here to the word " prophet ? " Chrysostom and Theophy- 
lact say that he uses the word in the strict meaning of " one who fore- 
tells future things." This was his meaning, they say, in chapter xii. 
Theodoret takes prophecy to mean the revelation of thoughts and 
other hidden mysteries, and quotes ver. 24 in support of his opinion. 

But we should notice that the Apostle is describing in this chap- 
ter everything that took place then in the public assemblies of the 
Church, and that he includes them all under the names of tongues 
and of prophesying. For the Holy Spirit then would fill many in 
the Church to sing and speak spiritual songs, hymns, prayers, 
collects, and psalms in strange tongues, in the presence of an 
unlettered crowd of all sorts of men, just as He did on the day 
of Pentecost, as described in Acts ii. This is supported by S. 
Dionysius {de Div. N'omin. c. 3) and by Tertullian I^Apol. 29), 
and the Apostle calls this '• the gift of tongues," or " speaking in 
tongues." To others the Holy Spirit would give the power of ex- 
pounding Holy Scripture, or of teaching or preaching, or of singing, 
or of leading the people in exalted prayer in the vulgar tongue, and 
hence, as Chrysostom and Theodoret point out, of manifesting the 
secrets of men's hearts, and even of uttering real prophecies. All 
these things S. Paul includes here under the name of prophecy, 
especially preaching and teaching, and he opposes them to the gift 
of tongues. Cf. vers. 4-6, 31, and especially vers. 25, 26. For the 
prophets of old time not only foretold future things, but taught 
and preached, and mingled with their teaching psalms and prayers. 
Therefore the Apostle here puts this kind of prophecy before 
tongues, and throughout the whole chapter exhorts them to it, and 
gives directions for its due use and its order in the public assemblies 
of the Church, both before and after the Eucharist ; for in these 
assemblies one would expound Holy Scripture, another exhort, a 


third sing a hymn, a fourth a psalm, even sometimes in a foreign 
tongue. Cf. Ambrose, Anselm, and Philo {dc Essceis). The word 
"prophet" has this meaning also in chap. xi. vers. 4, 5. 

We must notice too, that S. Paul does not here call all prophets 
who simply explain the obscure passages of the Prophets or of Holy 
Scripture, nor yet all those who teach others or exhort, as some 
writers suppose, but only those who do so by the direct inspiration 
of the Holy Spirit, and not from learning acquired by laborious 
study. This is plain from ver. 30, where he says : " If anything be 
revealed to another, let the first hold his peace," and from ver. 32 : 
"The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." By the 
name of prophets he means those who were filled with the Holy 
Spirit, and received from Him some revelation of doctrine, or word 
of exhortation, or of prayer. This was frequently given then, as 
appears from ver. 26. But when that influence of the Holy Spirit 
ceased, it was succeeded by reading of the Scriptures, preaching, 
psalm-singing before the Mass, during the Mass, and after the Mass. 
Cf. note on ver. 26. 

Ver. I. — Folloiv after charity. Pursue it eagerly so as to obtain it, 
just as a huntsman pursues a wild animal. 

Desire spiritual gifts. These are, S. Chrysostom says, the gifts of 
the Holy Spirit, not His graces, as, e.g., the gift of tongues or of heal- 
ing, and the others referred to in chap. xi. S. Paul bids them desire 
these, try to obtain them, especially by prayer, not from any desire 
for superiority but from charity, that they may profit others and the 
Church at large by means of those gifts. 

But rather that ye may prophesy. Viz., that under the inspiration 
of the Holy Spirit ye may teach, say, or sing such things as may stir 
up the devotion of others. This has just been seen to be the force of 

Ver. 2. — He that speaketh ifi a tongue, <S:c. S. Augustine (de 
Ge?i. ad Litt. lib. xii.), Primasius, and Cajetan read the nominative 
in the last clause of this verse, " Howbeit the Spirit speaketh 
mysteries." The meaning then would be : The Holy Spirit speaks 
of hidden mysteries in the Holy Scriptures, which cannot be under- 


Stood, except some prophet or doctor interpret them. But this 
meaning is foreign to the context, and this reading is not supported 
by the Greek or Latin copies. 

Ver. 3. — But he that prophesidh speaketh unto nteti to . . . comfort. 
This is what I said before, that to prophesy means licre to speak 
words which edify, exhort, and comfort others. Hence, to prophesy 
is better than to speak in unknown tongues, which no one under- 
stands, and from which no one can receive instruction, edification, 
or comfort. 

Ver. 6. — Nozu, brethren, if I come unto you speaking ivith tongues 
. . . or by doctrine ? His tongues would profit them nothing unless 
he added to them a revelation, that is an explanation of the revelation 
given him ; or knowledge, that is a declaration of what he knew, 
whether infused by God or acquired by study; ox prophecy, that is 
a statement of what he knew, either by prophecy properly so called 
or improperly, in the way of explanation of hidden and difficult 
things, especially of Holy Scripture; or doctrine, that is an accommo- 
dation of his discourse to their capacity. Such is pretty nearly the 
explanation given by S. Thomas and Theophylact. To complete 
the sense of the verse we must supply : But I shall do nothing of 
this sort if I merely speak with tongues and do not interpret, so 
that you may understand me ; therefore it is better to prophesy 
than to speak with tongues, unless some one interpret. 

But in the second place we can understand the Apostle's meaning 
still better if we join knowledge with doctrine, and revelation with 
prophecy. For, as it was from their stores of knowledge that learned 
men drew the teaching that they gave others, so was it from revela- 
tion that they prophesied. Prophecy is distinguished from doctrine 
in that it is received by revelation, doctrine from knowledge; for 
what we teach has been acquired by intellectual study. So Tolatus 
and Jansenius, in the place quoted above, say that S. Paul's meaning 
is, "Though I speak in unknown tongues, but do not teach you, 
whether by knowledge gained by study or by prophecy received by 
revelation, I shall profit you nothing." 

Thirdly, Cassianus (CollatxW. 8) sees here the four senses of Holy 


Scripture : in the doctrine the literal sense, in the revelation the 
allegorical, in the knowledge the tropological, in the prophecy the 
allegorical. But this is a mystical and symbolic interpretation. 

Ver. 7. — And even things without life, &c. That tongues profit 
nothing unless they are understood can be seen, even from a com- 
parison drawn from inanimate things ; for a pipe or harp are of no 
use unless they give a distinct sound. Unless a man knows what 
is played he will take no pleasure in the sounds, nor will he be 
induced to dance to the music. 

Ver. 9. — So likewise ye . . . hozu shall it be known what is spoken? 
For the tongue is the stamp, the image, the index, and messenger of 
the mind. As Aristotle says {Peri Ifermen. lib. ii.), "words are signs 
of the feelings which lie concealed in the soul." Hence Socrates 
used to determine the mind and character of any one from his voice, 
and would say, "Speak, young man, that I may see you." But this 
cannot be if the language of the speaker is unknown to the hearer. 

Ver. 10. — There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, 
and none of them is withotit signification. As a matter of fact, or 
for example, there are many different languages : no nation is with- 
out its language, no language without its meaning. Others, as 
CEcumenius, refer the none to the instrument, and say that no pipe 
or harp but has its proper sound; others, more generally, no object 
is without its voice. As Ausonius sings to Paulinus : — 

"No creature silent is, nor winged bird, 
Nor beast that walks the earth, nor hissing snake : 
The cymbals smitten sound, the stage when struck 
By dancers' feet, the drum its echo gives." 

The best meaning, however, is that no tongue is void of meaning. 

Ver. II. — I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbariafi. As Ovid 
says : — 

"A barbarian here am I, and understood by none." 

The word " barbarian '' is onomatopoetic, and was first applied by 
the Greeks to any one who spoke another language than Greek; then 
by the Romans to one who spoke neither Greek nor Latin ; afterwards 


it denoted any one who spoke any other tongue but that of his 
native country. Hence Anacharsis the Scythian, when ridiculed as 
a barbarian by the Athenians, well replied, "The Scythians are bar- 
barians to the Athenians, the Athenians just as much barbarians to 
the Scythians." 

Ver. 12. — Forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts. Since ye 
desire to have the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit enumerated in 
chap, xii., seek them from God abundantly, that ye may use them, 
not for ostentation, but for the perfecting of the Church. 

Ver. 13. — Let hint, that speaketh . . . pray that he may interpret. 
S. Paul is here speaking of public prayer, in which one man, even 
though a layman, inspired by the Holy Spirit, would offer up prayer 
in an audible voice before all, the others listening, and joining their 
prayers to his. This is the meaning, as appears from the following 
verses. But Chrysostom, Ambrose, and Anselm explain it thus : 
Let him pray that he may receive the gift of the interpretation of 
tongues, so as to make his own prayer intelligible to others. 

Ver. 14. — For if I pray in an utiknoivn tongue viy spirit prayeth. 
(i.) My spirit is refreshed; (2.) according to S. Chrysostom, the gift 
of the Holy Spirit which is in me prayeth, makes me pray and 
utter my prayer in public. (3.) Theophylact and Erasmus, following 
S. Basil, understand breath by spirit ; in other words, My voice, pro- 
duced by the vital and vocal breath, prays ; but my mind is unfruitful, 
because it does not understand the meaning of the words uttered. 
Primasius, too, says that the word " spirit " here is to be understood 
of prayers uttered sometimes while tiie mind is thinking of some- 
thing else. But the first is the true sense, and best fits in with 
what follows. S. Thomas, commenting on this clause, gives three 
other meanings, but they are not those in the Apostle's mind. 

But my understanding is nnfruitfui. S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, 
Ambrose, S. Thomas, and Cajetan think that the Apostle is speaking 
here of those who had received the gift of tongues, but who, like 
Balaam's ass, did not understand what they said, or at all events did 
not enter into the mysteries contained in their words. S. Augustine 
says the same {de Gen. ad Litt. lib. xii. c. S and 9), and it is gathered 


from ver. 28. For these prayed without fruit in such tongues ; for, 
though their spirit fed on God in pious devotion, yet their mind was 
not fed on any understanding of the words of the prayer. 

But I say that the Greek voOs here is the same as " meaning." 
It is so rendered in the Latin in ver. 19, and in chap. ii. 16, and in 
Rev. xvii. 9, where we read, "Here is the meaning " (of the vision of the 
beast) " which hath wisdom." S. Paul makes the same distinction 
between the tongue and the mind, or the letter and the spirit, which 
is so common amongst rhetoricians. "Sense" or meaning here is 
passive understanding, that by which I am understood by all — not 
active, by which I understand things. This "mind," or significa- 
tion of tongues, is without fruit, because no one takes it in, and no 
one is aroused to devotion. This is the natural meaning, and S. 
Basil seems to hold it {in Reg. Brev. Interrog. 278). 

Secondly, CEcumenius and Theodoret give an explanation which 
is not improbable : My mind, or my aim and object, is without 
fruit, not on the part of the speaker but the hearer, whom the speaker 
strives to excite to piety. It is certain, from vers. 14, 16, and 19, 
that S. Paul is speaking of fruit on the side of the hearers ; for he 
is speaking of the prayers and spiritual songs which some of the 
laity composed under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and uttered 
in public, or sang in the church at the time of their spiritual feasts, 
for the comfort, instruction, or exhortation of the people. He wishes 
them to be said in the vulgar tongue, so as to be understood by all ; 
otherwise, he says, they would be fruitless. 

You will perhaps say that the Mass and Canonical Hours ought 
then to be said now in the vulgar tongue. I deny that this follows, 
for the Apostle is speaking of the prayers which any lay person might 
compose for the edification or quickening of the people, not of the 
public Divine offices, which the clergy now perform with the appro- 
bation, not to say at the command, and in the name of the whole 
Church, to worship and praise God wnth a solemn and uniform 
majesty in Latin. For if the vernacular tongue were used, it would 
come to pass (i.) that the uneducated would not understand Divine 
mysteries, or rather they would misunderstand them, and accept 


heretical opinions ; (2.) the language would have to vary with the 
countries, or even with the cities. Although all the Germans speak 
the same language, yet each province has a different idiom : the 
Westphalians have one, the Swiss another, the Hessians another, 
and so on. And so if the Divine office were said in the vernacular, 
in such a difference of dialects division would arise, and sacred things 
would be ridiculed and despised. 

You will urge, secondly, perhaps that the people do not understand 
Latin : what fruit then have they from the Latin Mass ? I answer, 
(r.) They participate in the sacrifice and also the sacrament if they 
wish to; (2.) in all the prayers which the priest offers for all men, 
and especially for those present ; (3.) they are inflamed by the decent 
rites and ceremonies to devotion and elevation of their souls to God 
in private prayer, especially since parish priests are bound, by the 
Council of Trent (sess. xxii. c. 8), to explain the service to the people 
in their sermons. See Bellarmine {de Verbo. Dei. lib. ii. c. 16). 

Ver. 15. — I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray ivith the 
nnderstanding also. I will pray with sense and meaning, intelligibly, 
so that others may understand me. S. Paul alludes to Ps. xlvii. 7, 
where the same double meaning of understanding on the part of 
speaker and hearer is found. 

Ver. 16. — Else when thou shall bless with the spirit, &c. To bless 
here is to praise God with heart and mouth. S. Thomas under- 
stands it of the public blessing of the people; so also do Primasius, 
Haynio, and Salmeron, the latter of whom strives by many arguments 
to prove that the Apostle is speaking here of the sacrifice of the 
Mass, in which the priest blesses God rather than the people ; for 
the two Greek words for "blessing" and "giving thanks," used 
indifferently by the Evangelists and S. Paul in their accounts of the 
institution of the Eucharist, are used here, and seem to point to the 
Mass. It hence derives its names of the " Blessing " and the " Eucha- 
rist," or giving of thanks. Add to this that in all the liturgies of 
the Mass, including those of S. James, S. Clement, S. Basil, and 
S. Chrysostom, after the consecration of the bread and wine, the 
people are wont to answer "Amen !" The Apostle, tiien, seems to 


mean here that pubhc blessings, prayers, and Masses should not be 
celebrated in the church in an utterly unknown tongue, but that 
among the Greeks Greek should be used, among the Hebrews 
Hebrew, and among the Latins Latin ; for these languages are for 
the most part understood by all who are of each race respectively. 
If it is impossible to use one language which is understood by all 
the different peoples who hear the same Mass, then one which is the 
best known should be selected, such as Latin among us, so that 
many "in the room of the unlearned" may answer " Amen ! " as the 
Apostle requires. 

But that the Apostle is not speaking of the solemn blessing in 
the ^lass, but of any other uttered by some private member, under 
the direction of the Holy Spirit, in hymn or psalm or prayer, appears 
(i.) from the Greek particle for e/se, which, in its meaning of because, 
gives the cause of the preceding verse. The singular, used in " thy 
giving of thanks," points also to the private and personal devotion 
of each of the faithful. (2.) It appears from the drift of the whole 
chapter, and especially from the conclusion, stated in ver. 26, "Let 
all things be done to edifying." (3.) It appears again from ver. 31, 
where he says : "Ye may all prophesy one by one ; " and from ver. 29 : 
"Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge;" 
but it was of any one's fresh and private blessing or prophecy that 
they were to judge ; for the common prayer and liturgy of the 
whole Church, having been approved of by the whole Church, ought 
not to be subjected to examination for judgment. All this will 
better appear from the next paragraph. 

Me unlearned. Gagneius, following Severian, says the unlearned 
is the catechumen. Primasius says he is a neophyte. Chrysos- 
tom, Ephrem, Theophylact, S. Thomas, and others give the best 
meaning, viz., one untaught, unlettered, and with no knowledge 
of tongues. 

S. Thomas, Primasius, and Haymo take the "unlearned" hereto 
be the minister who at Divine service says "Amen!" for the people at 
the end of the Collects. These Fathers say that S. Paul means that 
at all events the minister at the Mass and other sacred rites should 


be able to understand the priest, or him who offers up prayer in 
public, in any other language than the vernacular, and should be 
able to respond, "Amen!" This is good and fitting teaching, but 
not necessarily the one uppermost in the mind of the Apostle. 

But the " unlearned " here denotes, not some minister of the sacred 
riteSj but any one of the laity. The Greek gives us, "he who sits 
among the unlearned " that is, is himself unlearned. Prophets and 
teachers used to sit in one place, the lay people in another. This is 
the explanation given by Chrysostom and Theophylact. Justin 
{Ajjol. 2) says that the whole of the laity, and consequently any 
individual of it, was wont to answer "Amen ! " Hence S. Jerome, to- 
wards the end of his commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, says 
that the people used to answer " Amen ! " with a noise like thunder. A 
minister now says it for the people, so as to prevent a confused 

The Apostle is speaking here, we must notice once more, of the 
extempore prayer of the individual, uttered for the purpose of edify- 
ing, and which might possibly contain some doctrinal error, as is 
hinted in ver. 29. He directs that in such prayers the vulgar be 
used, so that the people may not answer "Amen ! " to a prayer in an 
unknown tongue which is meaningless, absurd, or heretical. He is 
not speaking of prayers approved by the Church, which for that 
very reason are free from error, to which a single minister makes 
reply, and to which the people can add private prayers of their 
own. Moreover, the Council of Trent orders that sometimes, instead 
of the sermon, these prayers be explained to the people. 

Again, it is lawful to j)ray in a language not understood by the 
])erson who prays, if you are certain that the prayers arc good ones, 
as, e.g., when nuns say the Canonical Hours in Latin. In the same 
way the laity, when the priest offers up prayers in Latin, can pray 
with him, and add the intention of seeking that the priest may ob- 
tain for himself and all the people what he asks in the name of the 
Church in the beautiful prayers provided. And even if they do not 
understand them, and get no nourishment for their understanding 
from the meaning of the prayers, yet they reap the fruit of devotion 


to God, and of reverence towards the prayers; nay, they merit and 
obtain more than those who understand them if they pray with more 
humility, piety, and fervour. 

S. Jordanes, when asked whether such prayers as these of nuns 
were pleasing to God, well replied : ''''Just as a jewel in the hand of 
a peasant who kfioius not its value is worth as vmch as if it were in 
the hand of a goldsmith or jeweller who knew its value, so too prayers 
in the mouth of one who does ?iot understand them are worth as much 
as if they were uttered by one zvho knew their jjieaning." A petition 
presented to a kin^ by an ignorant peasant would obtain as much 
consideration as one presented by a learned man ; for it is written : 
" Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected 
praise;" and again, "If these should hold their peace, the stones 
would immediately cry out" (S. Matt. xxi. i6; S. Luke xix. 40). In 
the same way, in the " Lives of the Fathers," Abbot Pastor is related 
to have said to one who complained to him, that though he prayed 
he felt no contrition, because he knew not the meaning of the words 
that he used: ^' Do you 7ione the less persevere in prayer, for like as 
a charmer si?igs words which the stiake hears but understands not, and 
yet is subdued and tamed by them, so when we use words whose meafi- 
ing we know not, the devils hear them and understand them, and are 
terrified and driven away." Cf. S. Thomas and Cajetan. 

The case is different with the Lord's Prayer, which every one 
ought to learn and intelligently use in the vernacular, that he may 
know exactly what he should ask of God, as has been often laid 
down in synods. Cajetan, on the other hand, gathers from this pas- 
sage that it is better for organs, and musical instruments generally, 
to be excluded from church services, in order that the Hours and the 
Masses may be sung so as to be understood, and so that the people 
may be able to answer " Amen ! " But the practice of the Church is 
against this, which makes use of organs and other musical instru- 
ments in Divine service, as David did, to stir up the devotion of the 
people, who just as little understand the Latin language. The Church 
does this for three reasons: (i.) as we join in praising God, not 
only in spirit but also in body, so we should praise Him, not only 


with the best music of the voice, but also of instruments; for every 
spirit, every creature, every instrument ought to praise Him whose 
due never can be reached. (2.) To arouse the hsteners, and especi- 
ally the uneducated, to religious fervour, as David and EHsha were 
enkindled by psalms and harps, and as Saul was stirred up by music 
to give God praise. (3.) That the beauty, solemnity, and majesty of 
Divine service may be the greater. Prudentius, in his Apotheosis, 
written against the Jev/s, and the Faculty of Paris, in its decree (tit. 
xix. prop. 6), explain tiiis verse thus : When St. Paul says that in 
the church he would rather speak five words with his understanding 
than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue, he is speaking of 
sermons addressed to the people, in wliich a flow of words void of 
thought is useless. He says nothing about Church canticles, which 
are governed by another law." 

Nevertheless, we must in these matters guard against lightness, as 
the Council of Trent bids. Hence S. Augustine {Horn, in Ps. xxxiii.) 
says that pipes and organs used in theatres had been rejected by the 
Church, because the heathen used them then for lust in the theatres, 
and for banquets, and at their sacrifices. But, following the example 
and injunctions of David, we may use organs and other musical in- 
struments, if it be done with piety, soberness, and gravity (cf. Ps. cl.). 
S. John, too (Rev. v. 8, and xiv. 2), heard in heaven, where all are 
perfected, harps, though of course more solemn and Divine than 
ours on earth, 

Jtnai. Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodoret have translated tiiis 
faithfully or truly ; the Septuagint, so be it. " Amen " signifies truly 
or even firmly. It is not the expression of an oath, but of one who 
affirms or confirms. It is used as an affirmation when it is put at 
the beginning of a sentence, as, e.g.^ "Amen, Amen, I say unto you." 
And in this sense S. Augustine {injoati. Tract. 41) calls " Amen " the 
oath of Christ, because Christ's oath was not strictly an oath but a 
simple affirmation. It is a mark of confirmation when put at the end 
of a prayer, or it signifies the consent of the hearer ; it sometimes 
marks an assertion and agreement, sometimes a wish. It stands 
for agreement in Deut. xxvii., where the people are bidden to answer 


"Amen" in token that they were willing to accept the blessings for 
keeping the law and the curses for breaking it. But in a prayer, as, 
e.g., in the Lord's Prayer, it merely denotes a wish that what is 
sought for in the prayer may be obtained. The Rabbinical writers 
say that there are two " Amens," one perfect and the other imperfect in 
three ways: (i.) that of a pupil, when "Amen" is said, not as though the 
prayer is understood, but it is left to the direction of another to 
dictate it, as it were ; (2.) when the " Amen " is said before the end of 
the prayer it is called "surreptitious," (3.) and "divided" when the 
answer is given by one who is not thinking of the prayer, because he 
is occupied with something else. 

Ver. 18. — / thank ffiy God, I speak with tongues more than ye 
all. The Latin rendering is, " I speak with the tongues of you all," 
which suggests the question, What could be S. Paul's meaning in 
this, since there was but one tongue in Greece, and at Corinth in 
particular, viz., Greek.? Haymo's answer is that he refers to the dif- 
ferent dialects of Greek. A better answer would be, that foreigners 
and merchants of all nations flocked to Corinth as a great emporium, 
just as to-day, at Antwerp, Venice, or Paris, we find the commerce 
and language of the French, Italians, and English, and other nations, 
and that S. Paul is therefore referring to the different languages to 
be heard in the streets of Corinth. But Ephrem, Chrysostom, 
Jerome {ad Hedibia7n), and others support the rendering of the 
text. All the tongues that you speak and more I speak : I do not 
extol, I do not condemn the gift of tongues, for I use it myself, but 
I do not use it, as you do, for ostentation, but to edification. 

Ver. 19. — Yet in the church I had rather speak, h.c. A very few 
words spoken so as to be understood are better than a multitude of 
foreign words not understood by the hearer. 

Notice (i.) that understanding is to be taken here passively, and 
denotes the meaning by which I and my speech are understood; 
hence he adds, "that I might teach others also." For there is a 
contrast between the meaning, and the foreign tongue understood 
by no one. See note to ver. 14. But (2.) Anslem takes it of the 
active understanding, that by which I myself understand what I say, 


and so can better explain it to others. (3.) Chrysostom says that it 
means with judgment — that he would rather speak and teach with 
tact and judgment, so that the hearers, no matter hoA' rude and un- 
cultured they might be, might take in and retain what he said. But 
the first sense is the best, and most to the point. 

Ver. 20. — Brethren^ be not children in understanding. Understand- 
ing here is not the same word in the Greek as in the preceding 
verse. It can, with Chrysostom and Ephrem, be rendered " mind." 
— Do not become children in mind, judgment, and reason, so as to 
display your gift of tongues as children might. 

Howbeit in malice be ye children. Chrysostom, Theophylact, and 
Ephrem render this : " Let malice be as unknown to you as to 
infants." So, too, S. Augustine (qu. Ixi. lib. 73) says: "Be, like 
infants, free from malice." As "infant" is derived from /«, "not," 
and_/a;/5-, "speaking," and as a child who cannot speak knows still 
less of malice or anything else, so too the Christian is to be an infant 
in evil, not to know it nor to be able to speak of it, e.g., not to know 
what emulation, defilement, fornication are. So Theophylact, follow- 
ing S. Chrysostom. Tertullian {contra Valent. lib. ii.) beautifully 
says : " The Apostle bids les after God be childreti again, that we may 
be infants ifi nialice through our simplicity, and at last wise in imder- 
standing." Clement of Alexandria {^Pced. lib. i. c. 5) has pointed 
out that "children" here is not synonymous with "fools." The 
whole of his chapter, in which he points out how all Christians 
should be children, may be studied with advantage. 

Ver. 21. — In the laiv. Viz., Isa. xxviii. 11. As Chrysostom remarks, 
the law is sometimes used to denote, not merely the Pentateuch, but 
also the Prophets and the whole of the Old Testament. 

// is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak 
unto this people. This is a difficult passage, and to understand it we 
must explain the passage in Isaiah cited by the Apostle. The pro- 
phet's meaning in vers. 9 and 10 is, that God is wont to teacii know- 
ledge and wisdom to those who have left childish delights and an 
immature age, and are men with the capacity for knowledge; but 

these Jews, who (ver. 7) take delight in the pleasures of wine and in 
VOL. I. 2 


drunkenness, are like children — do not take solid food — and are 
consequently unfitted for doctrine and true wisdom. Filled with 
wine, they scoff at me and at other prophets who denounce to them 
punishments from heaven for their drunkenness and other sins, and 
they say: "Precept must be upon precept, line upon line . . . 
here a little and there a little." 

S. Jerome and Haymo point out that in this passage there is an 
ironical play upon words. Isaiah and other prophets were often say- 
ing, "Thussaith,"or, "Thus ordereth the Lord." Hence thejews,when 
drunken over their cups, would repeat in derision, " Order and order 
again " (precept upon precept), " Expect and expect again " (line upon 
line). It was as if they had said : "The prophets are always dinning 
into our ears, 'Thus saith the Lord,' and are always threatening or 
promising things which never come to pass, bidding us expect here 
a Httle and there a little, and nothing comes of it a.l." The same is 
oftentimes the experience of preachers, that the wicked ridicule, 
repeat, and sneer at their sermons and threatenings. Rabbi David, 
Rabbi Abraham, and after them Vatablus, Isidorus, Clarius, Pagninus, 
and Forterius give a very cold rendering to this verse (lo) — "precept 
upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little." The 
meaning then is : " These Jews are taught roughly and gradually line 
upon line, just as boys are taught their alphabet." But the following 
verses show that the prophet had in his mind scoffers and mockers, 
not untaught boys, for the punishments threatened are against 
scorners. S. Paul renders the sense of Isaiah and not the exact words : 
he applies the passage of Isaiah to the gift of tongues bestowed on the 
Apostles, who spoke with other tongues, not to scoff but to edify. 

The sense then is: God, speaking by Isaiah, says : "My exhortation 
to repentance, given by Isaiah and other prophets, seemed to you, O 
Jews, troublesome and ridiculous, just as if I had spoken to you with 
inarticulate sounds or in a foreign tongue ; hence you imitate what 
seem to you the meaningless sounds of the prophets, and you repeat 
in mockery their words. Wherefore, by the Chaldeans, who seem 
to you stammerers and lispers, will I punish you, that they, as the 
ministers of INIy righteousness, may restrain your unbelief by the 


Strange sounds of their foreign tongue, and may ridicule you as their 
captives, and in their language mock and condemn your Hebrew 
words ; and they shall serve as a type of the Apostles, whom in the 
time of Christ I will send to reprove your equal unbelief then, by the 
gift of unknown tongues, and they shall seem to you as men that lisp 
or speak indistinctly, and they shall be scoffed at by you and the wise 
of this world as foolish preachers of the Cross of Christ." 

The literal meaning of Isaiah refers to his own time, and to the 
Chaldeans who were to overthrow Jerusalem ; the allegorical refers 
to the gift of tongues given to the Apostles for a sign, not to the 
faithful, but to unbelievers, of the malediction with which God 
punishes the incredulous, not of the benediction with which He 
teaches His own servants. This verse of S. Paul shows the sense 
of Isaiah. Cf. S. Jerome and Cyril on Isa. xxviii. 

Ver. 2 2. — Wherefore tongues are for a sign . . . to the;n that 
believe 7iot Viz., to the unbelieving Jews, both here and in Isaiah 
xxviii., rather than to the Gentiles. This sign must therefore not 
be used by the faithful for vain glory. 

Prophesying serveth 7iot for them that believe not, but for them which 
believe. The teaching of the word of God and exhortation are a 
sign of the blessing with which God trains up His servants, and stirs 
them up to every good work (see ver. 3). Sign here is not the same 
as " miracle," for the Chaldeans worked no miracle when in their 
own tongue they chided the Jews ; but sign stands for a symbol, and 
mark of reproof, teaching, and exhortation. But understand what 
has been said of the believing and unbelieving, as applying to them 
primarily and principally ; for in a secondary sense tongues serve 
for a sign to the faithful, and prophecy to the unbelievers. Cf. vers. 
23 and 25. 

Vers. 23, 24. — If therefore the whole chiarh, . . . he is judged of 
all. If all speak together confusedly and noisily, they will seem to 
be mad ; but if all teach the faith from the Scriptures and other 
authorities, and preach of the way to lead a right life, the outsider 
will be convinced of, and reproved for, his unbelief and evil life, by 
all the teachers and preachers. 


Ver. 25. — And thus are the secrets 0/ his heart made manifest. Out 
of the gift of discerning of spirits, or because God directs the tongue 
of the prophet, i.e., the preacher, the most hidden sins of his heart 
will be described and reproved, and the man will think that the 
preacher speaks as a prophet to him in partic\ilar. It is evident 
from this that this was a common occurrence ; it is also evident that 
these teachers and preachers were, strictly speaking, real prophets. 

There is a parallel case in the life of S. Augustine by Possidonius 
(c, 15), where it is said that on one occasion S. Augustine left 
the subject that he had decided to speak on, and discoursed on 
Manichasism. This led to the conversion of a certain Manichasan, 
who chanced to be present, as S. Augustine afterwards learnt. He 
believed it to be due to the direct guidance of God. Hence {de 
Doct. Christ, lib. iv. c. 15) he says that prayer should always be 
offered to God before preaching, that He would direct the mind and 
tongue of the preacher suitably to the capacity and disposition of 
the audience. 

Others, however, understand "the secrets of his heart" to mean 
the sins which the unbeliever or unlearned has, but which he does 
not know to be sins, e.g.., when he does not know that idolatry and 
fornication are sinful. He will learn this when he hears the prophet 
discoursing about them, and condemning them as sinful. But the 
first meaning is the best. 

Ver. 26. — How is it thefi, brethren 1 . . . Let all things be dofie 
unto edifyitig. " Every one of you " is, of course, distributive. It is 
not meant that each one had all these things, but one had one thing, 
another another. Whoever of you has a psalm, or a doctrine, or a 
revelation, or an interpretation, or the gift of tongues, let him sing 
the praises cf God, or pour forth his prayers and other devotions. 

Hath a psalm. The grace of composing and singing psalms or 
hymns. So Pli-ny writes to Trajan that the Christians were wont 
to sing hymns before dawn to Christ as God. 

Hath a revelation. A revelation and exposition, either of some 
difficult passage of Holy Scripture, or of some future or unrevealed 


We should notice from this passage that in the Primitive Church 
tlie rites and order of Divine Service, instituted by Paul and the other 
Apostles, were somewhat as follows: (i.) Psalms were sung by all; 
(2.) the Holy Scriptures were read ; (3.) the Bishop preached ; 
(4.) then followed the Eucharist, which at that time consisted of 
simply the oblation, the consecration, communion, tiie canon and 
Lord's Prayer, and some collect to which the people answered, 
"Amen." (5.) All communicated ; (6.) some, inspired by the Holy 
Spirit, would utter or sing, in different tongues, psalms or hymns 
to the praise of God, others would prophesy ; (7.) some, after the 
Jewish fashion, would interpret the Holy Scriptures or give an ex- 
hortation, and tliat by two or three, especially prophets or men full 
of the Spirit ; others would listen and then ask questions about what 
had been said. This was done even by the women, though this was 
an abuse corrected by S. Paul : and when anything particularly good 
or pious was said, they would all exclaim together, "Amen, amen !" 
(8.) All was concluded with the agape, which was a common feast 
and a symbol of brotherly love, after which prayers and hymns again 
were used. Justin, in the passage quoted below, enumerates all 
these in order. He says: "/« all tlie oblatiojis tv/iich ive offer we 
praise with thanksgiving" (the first part) '■'' the Maker of all, throt/gh 
His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit ; and on the day called 
Stinday there is an assembly of all wlio live in town or count?y, and 
the commentaries of the Apostles or "writings of the Prophets are read'' 
(the second I'art). ^^ Then when the reader ceases, he ivho presides 
delivers a sermon, in which he instructs the people, or exhorts them to 
practise the good things they have heard" (the third part). " Upon 
this we all rise together and offer up prayers, and as J have said, 
when the prayers arc finished, bread is offered with wine and water ; 
and the same presidefit, as far as he can, offers up prayers and thanks- 
givings, and the people answer with acclamation, ' Amen 1 ' " (the fourth 
part). " 7 hen there is made a distribution, and communication ivith 
thanksgiving to each one present, of the gifts, and the same is sent by 
means of the deacons to the absent" (the fifth part) — Justin {Apol. 
ii. ad Ant.). The sixth, seventh, and eighth parts are described 


indiscriminately by TertuUian {Apol. xxxix.) : " Our supper shows 
its nature by its name of agape, tvhich denotes lore. JVe do not sit 
do'tvn to it zvithout first praying to God. Then follows tvashi?tg of 
the hands, lights are brought in, and as each one is able from the 
Holy Scriptures or his own gifts, he Jitters praise aloud, and the feast 
is ended also with prayer.'^ Philo {de Essceis) gives a similar account. 
We must notice, secondly, that these gifts and this fervour were 
of short continuance. Still, the Church has retained as far as 
possible the order and method then observed. Hence our present 
customs are the legitimate descendants of the eight mentioned 

1. To the saying of psalms, &c., have succeeded the Hours of 
Mattins, Lauds, and Prime. 

2. To the prophecies^ readings with exposition and homilies, not 
only in the Hours, but also in the Mass, in the form of the Epistle 
and Gospel. 

3. After the Gospel comes the sermon. 

4. Now as then we have the Mass, in which, at the end of the 
collect, a clerk says " Amen ! " for the people. 

The fifth, as well as the sixth, seventh, and eighth, have fallen 
somewhat into abeyance, except that hymns and the Lesser Hours are 
sung after Mass, and that monks, in their assemblies for worship, 
are wont to discourse of spiritual things, as Cassian relates [Collat. 

Ye.r. 27. — If any 7nan speak in a7i unknown tongue. . . . let one 
interpret. This verse depends on the foregoing clause, " Let all 
things be done to edifying." If any one sing, or teach, or speak with 
a tongue, let all be done to edifying, so that, eg., if tongues are used, 
then let only two, or at the most three, in each assembly speak, and 
that in their turns, so that there may be no confusion ; and let one 
interpret, so that the hearers may understand what is said. 

Ver. 29. — Let the prophets speak t7vo or three, viz., their prophecies 
or revealed truths, or intuitions or exhortations inspired into them by 
God. See what was said at the beginning of the chapter. 

And let the other fudge. Let the other prophets, not the people, 


judge by the gift they have whether what the prophet or teacher 
says is prophecy indeed, that is sound and wholesome doctrine, or 
not; for it does not belong to the laity to judge of the doctrines of 
relision, as heretics infer from this verse. It would be as absurd 
and foolish for the people to judge of prophecies, prophets, teachers, 
and pastors as for a scholar to judge his teacher, a sheep its shepherd, 
and a soldier his commander. 

Ver. 30. — If a7iy thing be revealed to another that sitteth Iry, let the 
first hold his peace. Let him rise and speak ; let the first cease and 
sit down. S. Ambrose says : " This is a custom of the symagogue 
which S. Paul borroivs and enjoins on t/s. The elders in dignity sit 
in their chairs while discoursing, those next to them sit on lower seats, 
the last on mats spread on the pavement. If anything happens to be 
revealed to these last, he bids tJiat they be listened to : they are not to be 
despised, for they are members of the same body." 

Ver. 31. — For ye may all prophesy . . . and all may be comforted. 
All the prophets can exhort in their turn, if only the method and 
order laid down above be observed, and so all can receive exhorta- 
tion and consolation. The word for "may be comforted" occurs 
again in 2 Cor. i. 6, Some take it as active, when the meaning be- 
comes, "that all may learn when they hear, and may teach when 
they speak and exhort." 

Ver. 32. — Ajid the spirits of the prophets are subject to tJie prophets. 
The prophets can, when they wish, restrain the spirit of prophecy, 
and keep silence, and give place to other prophets; they are not 
forced to speak by an irresistible impulse, like heathen fanatics ; for, 
as S. Thomas says, the spirit or gift of prophecy is not a habit, but is 
partly an inspiration, or impartation of light and truth, by which God 
illuminates the prophet's mind in regard to facts that are future, 
hidden, or Divine; it is partly a force or impulse by which God 
touches the heart and impels it to prophesy, while preserving the 
freedom of the will. So Jonah and Jeremiah restrained themselves on 
occasion, as did Moses (Exod. iv. 30). S. Chrysostom's explanation 
is different. The gift of prophecy, he says, which the prophet has is 
subject to the judgment of the College of Prophets ; but the first 


sense is more to the context ; for S. Paul is giving the reason why 
the prophets ought in turn to give way to each other and be silent, 
viz., because the prophetical spirit was under their control. 

Ver. ^^. — For God is not the atithor of co7ifusio?t. He does not 
compel these or those to prophesy at the same time, to make a noise 
and disturb each other, and so cause such a confusion as is commonly 
found in uproarious crowds. 

Ver. 34. — Let women keep silence in the churches. Ambrose, and 
after him Anselm, say that even the prophetesses are to keep silence : 
(i.) Because it is against the order of nature and of the Law, in Gen. 
iii. 16, for women, who have been made subject to men, to speak in 
their presence. (2.) Because it is opposed to the modesty and 
humility which befits them. (3.) Because man is endowed with better 
judgment, reason, discursive power, and discretion than woman. (4.) 
She is rightly bidden, says S. Anselm, to keep silence, because when 
she spoke it was to persuade man to sin (Gen. iii. 6). (5.) To curb 
her loquacity, for, as it is said, " when two women quarrel it is like 
the beating of two cymbals or the clanging of two bells." This 
might readily enough happen in the church if they were allowed to 
teach. About this silence enjoined on women, see notes on i Tim. 
ii. 9. How much is it then against the command of S. Paul, against 
all law, right, and seemliness, for a woman to be the head of a church ! 

Tropologically woman stands for passion and lust, man for reason. 
Let the first then be silent and obey the reason. Cf. S. Chrysostom 
{Horn. 37 in Morali.). Aristotle {de Nat. Animal, lib. ix. c. i) says : 
" Woman is more pitiful and more iticlined to tears than man ; also 
more envious, more ready to complain, to utter curses, and to rcve?ige ; 
she is besides more aiixious atid desponding than man, more pet't and 
untruthful, and more easily deceived J^ 

Ver. 35. — And if they will learn aiiything, let them ask their 
husbands at home. Hence Primasius says that men ouglit to be well 
taught enough to teach their wives in matters of faith. But what if 
they are themselves untaught, as is often the case ? Who, then, is 
to teach the woman ? Primasius answers that they have preachers, 
confessors, and teachers to instruct them. Again, it is better for 


them to be ignorant of some things that are not essentials than 
to ask and learn about them in pubhc, to their own shame and tlie 
scandal of the Church. 

You may say that it is recorded in S. Luke ii. 38 that Anna the 
prophetess spoke in the Temple to all concerning Christ. The 
answer is that she spoke to all in private, and one by one, not in a 
church assembly, nor in the Temple properly so called, for neither 
man nor woman, but the priests alone, were allowed to enter the 
Temple at Jerusalem. Anna, then, spoke to the women singly in the 
court of the women ; for, as Josephus says, the women had a court 
distinct from the men's court. 

You may say again, " Nuns sing in their churches." I answer tiiat 
theirs is not a church in the sense of being an assembly of the faithful, 
but merely a choir of nuns. The Apostle does not forbid women to 
speak or sing among women, but he forbids it in the common 
assembly only, where both men and women meet. In this Cajetan 
agrees. Moreover, S. Paul does not allude to such public speaking 
as is sanctioned by authority, but that particular and individual 
speech which consists in teaching, exhorting, and asking questions. 

Add to this that he is speaking of married women only, for he 
orders such to keep silence in the church and be subject to their 
husbands, and ask them at home what they want to know. 

Ver. ^6. — What 1 came the word of God out froffi you ? This is 
a sarcasm, concluding what had been said in this chapter and the 
preceding. Did not the Churches of Judaea, Samaria, and Syria 
believe before you ? Look, then, at the order and custom of those 
Churches, whether they are so contentious about their gifts or 
make such boasting of their tongues as you do. So Ambrose and 

Ver. 37. — If any /nan think himself to be a prophet, Szc. It is the 
Lord who commands this order to be observed in your assemblies, 
by my mouth, not directly by Himself. 

This verse is an authority for canons passed by the Popes, and 
for the laws of the Church. 

Melancthon replies that Bishops cannot make fresh canons, 


because, since the whole of the Holy Scripture has been now- 
written, the Bishops have a full and sufficient guide in the word of 
God ; but he says the civil magistrate can pass new laws, because 
he has not the word of God to follow. 

But this is a frivolous answer. The magistrate has not only the law 
of nature, but a very full and complete code of laws in the statute- 
book. But if everything has not been provided for there, and the 
magistrate may add to the number of laws, why may not Bishops do 
the same ? For the word of God has not provided for everything, 
as may be seen in the additions made to it by the Canon Law. 

Moreover, S. Paul is here enacting human and ecclesiastical laws, 
not Divine ones ; and he had besides the word of God, not indeed 
written, but received by tradition or revelation from God (Gal. i. 12), 
and that much more fully than we have it. If, therefore, it was lawful 
for him to add his laws to those given by God, it is also lawful for the 
Pope and the Bishops, who have succeeded Paul, to do the same. 

Ver. 38. — But if any man be ignorant, let him be igtiorant. He 
who is not willing to acknowledge these laws and my power will be 
ignorant, or ignored or condemned by God, who will say to him, 
" I know you not," for " he that heareth you heareth Me, and he 
that despiseth you despiseth Me." Ambrose, Jerome, Ephrem, 
read the future, " will be ignorant." " Let him be ignorant " has a 
parallel in "He that is filthy, let him be filthy still;" or, as others 
render it, " He that is ignorant, let him acknowledge himself ignorant, 
and behave accordingly, and not presume to pass judgment on 
other men, and on things of which he knows nothing, but let him 
rather follow others, as leaders in matters of prophecy and doc- 
trine." But I prefer the first reading, that of the Latin Version, 
as the plainer, truer, and better supported reading. 

Ver. 40. — Let all things be done decently atid in order. Like S. 
Ignatius {^Epp. ad Philipp. et Tars.), S. Paul had a great care for good 
order in the Church, especially in things indifferent, both because 
this order is beautiful and decent in itself, and because it prevents 
confusion and disturbance, and also because it greatly edifies others, 
even unbelievers. See notes on Col. ii. q. 


3 By Christ\i resiirreciion, 12 he provcth the necessity of our }-es2irrection, against 
all such as deny the resurrection of the body. 21 The fruit, 35 and manner 
thereof 5 1 and of the changing of them, that shall be found alive at the 
last day. 

MOREOVER, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto 
you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand ; 

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, 
unless ye have believed in vain. 

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that 
Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures ; 

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to 
the scriptures : 

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve : 

6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once ; of whom the 
greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 

7 After that he was seen of James ; then of all the apostles. 

8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 

9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, 
because I persecuted the church of God. 

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am : and his grace which was bestowed 
upon nie was not in vain ; but I laboured more abundantly than they all : yet 
not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 

11 Therefore whether it 'were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. 

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the deail, how say some 
among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 

13 Fuit if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen : 

14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is 
also vain. 

15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified 
of God that he raised up Christ : whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead 
rise not. 

16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised : 

17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain ; ye are yet in your sins. 

18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable, 

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them 
that slept. 

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of llie 




22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 

23 But every man in his own order : Christ the firstfruits ; afterward they 
that are Christ's at his coming. 

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, 
even the Father ; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and 

25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 

26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 

27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things 
are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things 
under him. 

28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also 
himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all 
in all. 

29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise 
not at all ? why are they then baptized for the dead ? 

30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? 

31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die 

32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what 
advantageth it me if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to-morrow 
we die. 

33 Be not deceived : evil communications corrupt good manners. 

34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not ; for some have not the knowledge of 
God ; I speak this to your shame. 

35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body 
do they come? 

36 7'hou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die : 

37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but 
bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain : 

38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his 
own body. 

39 All flesh is not the same flesh : but tht-re is one /cinJ of flesh of men, 
another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 

40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial : but the glory of the 
celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 

41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another 
glory of the stars : for one star dififereth from another star in glory. 

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption ; it is raised 
in incorruption : 

43 It is sown in dishonour ; it is raised in glory : it is sown in weakness ; it is 
raised in power : 

44 It is sow n a natural body ; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural 
body, and there is a spiritual body. 

45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul ; the last 
Adam -was made a quickening spirit. 

46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural ; and 
afterward that which is spiritual. 


47 Tlie first man is of the earth, earthy : the second man is tlie Lord from 

48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy : and as is the heavenly, 
such are they also that are heavenly. 

49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image 
of the heavenly. 

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom 
of God ; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery ; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be 

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump : for the 
trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be 

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal iniisi put on 

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal 
shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is 
written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 

55 O death, where is thy sting ? O grave, where is thy victory? 

56 The sting of death is sin ; and the strength of sin is the law. 

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus 

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveablc, always abound- 
ing in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain 
in the Lord. 


lie proves the resurrection of the dead against the false teachers who denied it : — 
i. From the fact of Christ's resurrection. Thus (ver. 12) he gives the 

bearing of it on our resurrection, 
ii. He proves the resurrection by the authority of those who are baptized 

for the dead (ver. 29). 
iii. He declares what the body will be like in the resurrection (ver. 35), 

and then names the four endowments of the glorified body (ver. 42), 
iv. He shows that we shall all rise again, but shall not all be changed, 

and that in the resurrection which shall take place, in a moment, 

when the trumpet shall sound, death will be completely swallowed up 
(ver. 51). 

Ver. I. — I declare unto yoii, i.e., recall to your memory. 

Vers. 3, 4. — How thai Christ died for our sins . . . according to 
the scriptures. Hos. vi. 2 : " After two days will He revive us ; in 
the third day He will raise us up," i.e., when He shall on tlie third 
day Himself rise from death to life ; for the resurrection of Christ 


was the cause of our rising from the deatli of sin, and of our future 
resurrection from bodily death, so that we are to rise like Christ on 
the Judgment Day to everlasting life. See notes on Rom. iv. 25. 
So Anselm, Dorotheas, in the beginning of his Synopsis, and also 
the Jewish writers of old in Galatln. lib. viii. c. 22. Theophylact, 
following S. Chrysostom, says that it was prophesied under an alle- 
gory that Christ should rise again on the third day ; for Jonah, 
brought from the whale's belly on the third day, was a type of Christ 
brought back, to life from death and hell on the third day. 

Isaac, too, typified the same event, in his being rescued from 
death when about to be sacrificed by his father, and restored to his 
mother alive and well on the third day. So Christ was given by 
His Father and sacrificed, and raised again on the third day. But 
these two instances are drawn from the allegorical sense, that of 
Hosea is from the literal. 

Ver. 5. — Was seen of Cephas. Paul puts this appearance of Christ 
first, and therefore implies that the first man that Christ appeared 
to was Peter. I say "the first man," for He appeared to the Magda- 
lene before S. Peter (S. Mark xvi. 9). 

Then of the eleven. On the Sunday after the resurrection, when 
Thomas was now present, Christ appeared to the eleven, for the 
twelfth, Judas, had by that time hanged himself, or better still, " to 
the eleven," i.e., to the whole Apostolic College, which then had 
been reduced to eleven, Christ appeared on the day of His resurrec- 
tion, though Thomas was absent. The Greek copies have, " then of 
the twelve." S. Augustine has the same reading {Qucest. Evangel. 
lib. i. qu. 117), and he says there that, though Judas was dead, 
"the twelve" were still so called as by a corporate name. So the 
Decemvirs are said to assemble if only seven or eight are present. 
Chrysostom explains it otherwise. He says that Christ appeared to 
the twelfth, jMatthias, after His ascension. But this is not recorded 
anywhere, and Paul is here naming the appearances of Christ before 
His ascension only. 

Ver. 6. — After that He was seefi of above five hundred brethren. 
The Greek word for above means {a) "more than," (/;) "from heaven." 


C'nrysostom and Theopiiylact take it here in the latter sense. For 
Christ appeared, they say, not walking on the ground, but above 
their heads, as though descending from the sky ; and He did this 
that He might show them that He had ascended as well as risen, 
and might confirm their faith in His ascension. Hence any one 
may gather that Chrysostom thought that this appearance of Christ 
took place after His Ascension ; but still it is not true, nor is of 
necessity gathered from what Chrysostom says. 

This appearance of Ciirist, whether on a higher spot, as if frum 
heaven, or in the air, evidently was prior to His ascension ; and 
this is the common opinion of doctors ; for we read nowhere of any 
public appearance after His ascension. 

Many suppose that this was the well-known appearance of Christ 
on a mountain in Galilee, which He had so many times promised. 
All His disciples met there, as He had bidden. This was not at 
His ascension, but before it; for Christ ascended into heaven, not 
from Galilee, but from the Mount of Olives. See S. Jerome {ad 
Hedibia7n, qu. 7). 

Ver. 7. — After that He ivas seen of James. The son of Alpha^us, 
first Bishop of Jerusalem, and styled brother of the Lord. There is 
a tradition mentioned by Jerome {Lib. de Scrip. Ecdes. in Jacobd) 
that James had taken a vow not to eat anything till he should see 
Christ risen. S. Jerome, however, does not think the tradition of 
any value. Its falsity is seen, too, (i.) for it is evident, from this 
passage of S. Paul, that Christ appeared to him after appearing to 
the five hundred brethren, and therefore long after His resurrection, 
too long for S. James's fast to have been prolonged naturally. (2.) All 
the Apostles, and therefore S. James, were confounded at Christ's 
death, and did not believe in His resurrection. It is not likely then 
that James would take such a vow. (3.) S. Jerome says that he 
took this story from the " Gospel according to the Hebrews," which is 
apocryphal. It is also said there that Christ wore at the time a 
linen garment, and that lie gave it to the servant of the priest, 
which also seems false ; tor the garments of Christ remained in 
the sepulchre (S. Matt, xxviii.), and a glorified body, such as Christ's 


was, is not clad with linen or any such garments, but with splendour 
and rays of light. 

Then of all the apostles, and the disciples as well, says S. Anselm, 
at the ascension. 

Ver. 8. — And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out 
of due time. Born out of due time is, (r.) according to Theophylact 
and Theodoret, contemptible and despised, because young that 
come too soon to the birth are generally imperfectly formed, tliin, 
and undersized. (2.) According to Ambrose and Chrysostom it is 
untimely ; that is, after Christ had ascended into heaven, Paul was 
born in Christ, and received his Apostleship. (3.) According to 
Anselm he thus calls himself, because he was struck to the earth by 
Divine power, compelled, and violently born again : untimely young 
are forced into the world by the violence of nature. (4.) Or, as 
S. Anselm again remarks, such births are of young half-dead, and 
they are often born bhnd. So S. Paul was smitten with blindness 
at his conversion. (5.) S. Paul was expelled from the womb of his 
mother, the people of the Jews, and was sent, not to his fellow- 
countrymen, but to the Gentiles outside. (6.) Baronius {Atinals, 
A.D. 44) thinks that Paul was so called as an Apostle, because he 
was made an Apostle in addition to the twelve ; for the Senators 
at Rome, he says, were so called, when they were co-opted into the 
Senate, in addition to the fixed number; but it cannot be said that 
S. Paul alludes to this, for he is writing in Greek to the Greeks, 
not to Romans. 

It appears from this verse that Christ appeared to Paul, not by an 
angel, as Haymo thinks {Cof?iment. on Apocalypse, c. ii.), but in person; 
not in a vision, as He appeared to him in Acts xxii. 18, nor in a 
trance, as is recorded in 2 Cor. xii. 2, but in the air in bodily form ; 
for it was in this way that Christ appeared to Cephas, James, and 
the other Aposdes ; moreover, if it were any other kind of appearance 
it would be no proof of the resurrection of Christ. The appearance 
of Christ alluded to here is the one at Paul's conversion (Acts ix. 3), 
when he saw Christ before the bright light blinded him. 

Hence it further appears that Christ then descended from heaven. 


for, as S. Thomas and others say, S. Paul heard the voice of Christ 
speaking in the air. Whence it follows again that Christ was then 
in two places, in the empyrean and in our atmosphere, close to 
Paul; for, according to Acts iii. 21, Christ has never left the highest 
heaven to which He ascended. If Christ was then in two places, 
why cannot He be at once in heaven and in the Eucharist ? 

Hegesippus [Excid. Hierosol. lib. iii. c. 2) and others say that 
Christ appeared in the same way to S. Peter at Rome, when He called 
him back as lie was flying from martyrdom wuth the words, "I go to 
be crucified again." 

Ver. 9. — For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be 
called an apostle. Not only the least and umvorthy because of my 
sins, but not fit for the apostleship ; for it is not meet that one who 
was a persecutor should be a leader and Apostle of the Church. 

Morally, see the humility of S. Paul in calling himself the least; 
by so doing he was the greatest. S. Bernard {Serm. xiii. 07i the 
Canticles^ says well : "^ great and 7-are virtue surely is it that you, 
who work great things, do not know your own greattiess ; that your 
holiness, which is evident to all, escapes your own observation ; that you 
seem 7vonderful to others, despicable to yourself. This, I think, is more 
7i.io7iderful than your very virtues. You surely are a faithful servant, 
if of the great glory of God, 7vhich passes through you rather than 
proceeds from you, you let 7ione stick to your ha/tds. Therefore you 
will hear the blessed words : ' Well done, good and faithful servant ; 
because thou hast been faithful over a feiu things, I will make thee ruler 
over 77iany tlmtgs.' " 

Ver. 10. — / ain what I a?n — an Apostle, and Teacher of the 

His grace which was bestowed upon nie icas not in vai7i. Not 
empty, barren, without results. S. Ambrose reads : " His grace was 
not poor in me," and then the meaning would be : " Though I per- 
secuted the Church of Christ, yet I did not on that account receive 
a grace of apostleship that was poor and slight, and less than that 
of the other Apostles, but if anything greater." 

But I laboured 7iwre abunda7iily tha7t they all. S. Jerome {Ep. ad 

VOL. I. 2 A 



Pauliuum) says beautifully : " A sudden increase of luat banishes a 
long-existitig lulie^carmness. Paul was changed i?ito an Apostle instead 
of a persecutor ; ivas last in order, first in merits ; for though last he 
laboured 7nore than all.'' For, as Gregory says {Pastor, p. 3, c. 29) : 
"^ guilty life that has learnt to glow with loir for God is often more 
pleasing to Him than a blameless life that has grown sluggish from 
long security." 

Yet not /, but the grace of God which ivas with me. It plainly 
appears from this passage against Luther and Caivin that man has 
free-will, and that God alone does not work everything in us, but 
that our free-will co-operates with Him, even in supernatural works, 
for the Apostle says with vie, not in me, and / laboured more abun- 
dantly than they all. 

Again, the verb to be supplied in this passage is properly laboured. 
Then it will run: "Yet it was not I that laboured, but the grace of 
God, which laboured with me." S. Paul does not here exclude the 
co-operation of the will, but only attributes the praise due to the 
work to grace as its more worthy cause. But the sense will be the 
same if you read with the Greek Fathers and S. Jerome, " was with me." 
The meaning then is, "which was with me to help me."' I laboured 
much of my own free endeavour, yet I did not so labour as to give 
myself all the praise and glory of my labour ; but it was the grace 
of God which aroused me, aided me, strengthened me for this labour ; 
to it, therefore, I give the first and best praise of my labour." 

S. Bernard ("On Grace and Free-will," i-//<^^«^w) says: '^'' It was not 
I, but the grace of God with me ' implies that he was not only a mini- 
ster of the work by pivducing it, but in some way a companion of the 
worker by consenting to it. Else^uhere S. Paul says of himself, ' We 
are 7C'orkers together with God' (i Cor. iii. 9); hence we make bold 
to say that we merit to receive the kingdom because we are joined to the 
Divine Will by the voluntary surrender of our own will." 

See also Anselm, Chrysostom, Theodoret {in loco) ; also Jerome 
{contra Pelag. lib. ii.), Gregory {Morals, xvi. c. 10), S. Augustine 
{de Liber. Arhit. c. 17, and Scrm. 1^ dc Verbis Apost.). He sa\s 
there: " If you zvere not a ivorker, God could not be a co-ivorker." 


Ver. 1 1. — Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so 
ye believed. So not only I, but all the Apostles, as was said in 
ver. 3, preach and affirm as eye-witnesses, viz., that Christ died, and 
rose from the dead, and appeared to us. The Apostle returns here, 
as if after a long digression, to the point of the whole chapter, 
which is to prove, from the unanimous testimony of the Apostles, 
the resurrection of Christ, and of the rest who have died. 

Ver. 12. — Hoiv say some among you that there is no resurrection of 
the dead? Cerinthus with his followers are meant here. He was the 
first heresiarch after Simon Magus to deny, in S. Paul's time, the 
resurrection. See Eusebius {Bist. lib. vii. c. 23, and lib. iii. c. 28) 
and Epiphanius {Ha:res. 28). Cerinthus was a champion of Juda- 
ism, and, founding his opinions on Jewish traditions, he referred all 
the prophecies about the Church and the Gospel law to an earthly 
kingdom, and to riches, and to bodily pleasures. In the same way 
he afterwards perverted the meaning of Rev. xx. 4, and became the 
parent of the Chiliasts, or the Millennarian heretics. Some think 
from this that he was the author of the Apocalypse, and that it 
should therefore be rejected. 

S. Ignatius, in his epistle to the Churches of Smyrna and Tralles, 
censures this error and its author. Hymenseus and Philetus (2 
Tim. ii. 17) also denied the resurrection. 

Ver. 13. — But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ 
not risen. Not only because Christ was one of the dead, but also 
because the primary cause of Christ's death and resurrection was 
the complete destruction of death, and the restoration of life. 
Moreover, the resurrection of Christ was a pattern of ours, i.e., of 
our resurrection to righteousness in this life, and to glory in the 
next. See S. Thomas (p. 3, qu. 53, art. i) for five other reasons 
why it was necessary for Christ to rise again. 

Ver. 1 7. — If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain ; ye are yet in 
your sins. It rightly follows that, if Christ has not risen, we are 
still in our sins; for i. if Christ has not risen, therefore faith in a 
risen Christ, which is the basis of justification, is false; but a false 
faith cannot be the beginning and foundation of remission of sins 

0/ - 


and of true sanctification. 2. If Christ remained in death, He 
was overcome by it, and His death was ineffectual for the remission 
of sins ; for if by His resurrection He could not overcome death, 
then He could not overcome sin, for it is more difficult and a 
heavier task to overcome this than to overcome death. If this be 
so, sin is not fully abolished, if its penalty death is not. 

3. The resurrection of Christ is the cause of our justification. 
(Rom. iv. 25). Now the cause being removed, the effect is removed. 
If, then, the resurrection of Christ is not a fact, neither is our justi- 
fication from sins, and consequently we are still in our former sins. 

Ver. 18. — The7i they also which are fallen asleep hi Christ are 
perished, i.e., who have died in faith, hope, and charity. If the 
body is not to rise again, but perishes outright at death, the soul 
too will perish : it cannot exist for ever without the body, for its 
nature is the "form" of the body. Unless, then, God take away by 
violence from the soul its nature and natural condition. He must 
restore to it its body. 

Ver. 19. — If in this life only we have hope in Christ, i. The 
word "hope" here signifies, not the act of hope, for this exists in 
this life only, but the object of hope or the thing hoped for. If our 
only hope in Christ is for the goods of this life, then are we the 
most miserable of men ; we are the most foolish also, because we 
rely on an empty hope of the resurrection, which is never to happen, 
and suffer fastings, mortifications, persecutions, and other hardships, 
and we resign the pleasure of the world and the flesh which others 
indulge in. Although, then, we are more happy than they, because 
of the good that is the fruit of the virtue of abstinence, of charity, 
and of an unclouded conscience, yet we are more miserable than 
they, so far as our hope in Christ is concerned, nay, we are fools 
for relying on a baseless hope. So Anselm and Chrysostom. The 
Apostle does not say "we are worse," but "miserable;" for it is 
a miserable thing to afflict ourselves for virtue's sake, and yet not 
obtain the prize ; but the prize of Christian virtue is the resurrection. 

It may be said that the soul can have its reward and be blessed 
without its body rising again. My answer to this is : God might 


have so arranged things tliat the soul alone should be rewarded 
with the Beatific Vision, but He did not so will it. As a matter of 
fact He willed that if the soul be beatified, so shall the body ; if 
the body is not, neither will the soul ; otherwise Ciirist would not 
have completely overcome sin, which reigns by death over soul and 
body alike. 

2. It was the opinion of men at that time that if the immor- 
tality of the soul be proved, the resurrection of the body must be 
at once admitted, because of the close connection between them. 
The soul has a natural longing after the body, and cannot exist 
without it unless by violence. Tlierefore the resurrection, so far as 
concerns the essence and the needs of human nature, is a natural 
process, though its mode of execution be supernatural. Nor can 
the soul when once separated be again united to the body by any 
created force, but only by the supernatural power of God. Paul, 
then, from the denial of the resurrection and happiness of the body, 
rightly infers, according to the common opinion of men, as well as 
the nature and truth of things, the denial of the immortality and 
bliss of the soul ; and so it is no wonder if Christians are not to 
rise again, that they should be of all men most miserable. 

Ver. 20. — But noiv is Christ risen from the dead, and become the 
firsffruits of them that slept, (i.) Christ was and is the first of those 
that rise again, both in order of dignity and of merit. (2.) He was 
first in the Divine will and intention. (3.) First causally, lor by 
Him we shall all rise again. (4.) Temporally, for Christ was the 
first in time to rise to everlasting life ; for though some before Him 
were raised to life by Elijah and Elisha, yet they rose to this mortal 
life only, and again died ; but Christ was the first to rise to the 
eternal life of bliss and glory. So Chrysostom, Anselm, Ambrose, 
Theophylact, Theodoret, and others. The wortl for firstfruits 
properly signifies this, and implies others to follow. So is Christ 
Called the '• first-begotten of the dead," i.e., rising before all others, 
and, as it were, being born again from the dead. 

It seems from this to be a point de fide that no one rose before 
Christ to everlasting life. Those, therefore, who at the death of 


Christ are said to have arisen (S. IMatt. xxvii. 52). rose after Him 
in the way of nature, if not of time, for their resurrection depended 
on Christ's as its cause. Francis Suarez points out this (p. 3. qu. 

53. 'irt- 3)- 

The earliest fruit of the earth, which under the Old Law was to 

be offered to God, was called the "firstfruits ;" so Christ, after His 

resurrection, was offered to God as the firstfruits of the earth, into 

which He had been cast as a corn of wheat, and from which He 

sprang forth again in the new birth of the resurrection. 

Ver. 21. — M>r since by man came death. Adam brought death on 
all men, Christ resurrection. The word since gives the reason why 
Christ is called the firstfruits of them that rise, viz., because by 
Christ, as a leader of the first rank of God's army and the subduer 
of death, the resurrection of the dead was brought into the world. 

Ver. 22. — For as in Adafn all die, even so in Christ shall all be 
made alive. The question may be asked whether even the wicked 
are to rise again and be endowed with life through Christ and His 
merits. S. Augustine {Ep. 28) s.iys no, because their resurrection, 
being to condemnation, is better called death than life. S. Thomas 
also says that Christ is the efificient cause of resurrection to all men, 
but the meritorious cause to the good alone. 

But my answer is that Christ is the cause of the resurrection 
of all, even of the wicked : i. Because Christ wished by His 
resurrection to abolish the power of death over the whole human 
race entirely, and therefore the wicked are included, not as 
wicked, but as men, abstracting their wickedness. See S. Ambrose 
{de Resurr. c. 21), and still more clearly S. Cyril {in Joann. lib. 
iv. c. 12). 

2. Christ merited resurrection for the wicked, even as wicked, 
that He might inflict just punishment on His enemies, that His glory 
might be increased by the eternal punishment of His enemies. But 
these meanings are beside the scope of the passage. The Apostle 
is treating of the blessed resurrection of the saints, not of the resur- 
rection of the wicked to misery. 

We may here recapitulate the six methods by which the Apostle 


has proved that Christ rose again, that so he might prove that we 
too should rise. 

1. From the testimony of those who saw Him ahve after He rose, 
viz., Peter, Paul, James, the other Apostles, and the five hundred 
brethren (ver. 5). 

2. If Christ is not risen, then the preaching of the Apostles and 
the faith of Christians are alike vain (ver. 14). 

3. If Christ is not risen, we are still in our sins. This is proved 
by the fact that faith that justifies and expiates our sins is the same 
by which we believe that Christ died and rose again for us (ver. 17). 

4. If Christ is not risen, then have all perished who have fallen 
asleep in Christ, and have been destroyed both in hody and soul ; 
for the soul cannot live for ever without the body (ver. 18). 

5. If we serve Christ only in this short life, and under His law 
have no hope of resurrection, then are we of all men most miserable 
(ver. 19). 

6. By Adam all die, therefore through Christ shall all rise again, 
and be (quickened. For Christ has done us as much good as Adam 
did harm : He came, not only that He might repair all the falls 
and loss of Adam and his descendants, but that He might lift us up 
to a higher state (ver. 21). 

Ver. 23. — But every man in his own order. i. According to 
Chrysostom, Theodoret and Theophylact this is the just among the 
blessed, the wicked among the reprobate. 2. According to the 
commentary ascribed to S. Jerome, this means that each shall rise 
higher and more blessed as he has been more holy here. 

3. Qilcumenius and Primasius explain it in this way : All who 
are to be quickened in Christ shall rise again in this order — Ciirist 
the first in time and dignity; secondly, the just shall rise; thirdly 
shall come the end of the world. This is the Apostle's meaning, as 
appears from the next words. Cf t Thess. iv. 16. 

Ver. 24. — Then cometh the end. i. The end of the whole dis- 
pensation of Christ for the salvation of the human race^ and it will 
consequently be the end of the age then exi-^ting, of time, of all 
generations, and all corruptions, and of the universe. So Anselm. 


For Christ is the end of the whole universe, and when those that 
He has chosen out of it are completed, then the universe will be 
ended also. 

2. "The end" may, with Theodoret, be rendered "consumma- 
tion," i.e., the general resurrection of all, even of the wicked, when 
all things will come to an end. 

Wheti He shall have delivered tip the kingdom to God, even the 
Father. The kingdom is the Church of the faithful and congrega- 
tion of the elect ; not as though God did not now reign over it, 
for Christ says : " The kingdom of God is within you " (S. Luke xvii. 
2i), but because sin has somewhat of power over it, because the 
devil, death, and cares that attack mortals are found in it. In 
other words, Then cometh the end when Christ shall have presented, 
and as it were restored to His Father, the Church of the elect, which 
had been intrusted to His care and governance during the struggle 
of this life, that He might gloriously reign over it for ever. The 
Son shall as it were present it to His Father with the words : 
"Father, Thou didst send Me into the world, and after I ascended 
to heaven to be with Thee I have ruled these continuously, and 
protected them from the power and assaults of the world, the flesh, 
and the devil. Lo, these that I brinsr are Thine. Thev are Mv 
possession, given Me by Thee ; they are the fruit of My labotir, 
won by My sweat and blood. This is Thy kingdom as it is Mine, 
and is now free and pure from every sin, temptation, and trouble, 
that Thou mayst reign gloriously over it for ever." Cf. S. Ambrose 
and S. Augustine {de Trinitate, lib. i. c. 8 and lo). 

To God, even the Father is a hendiadys, to signify that Christ as 
man will present His faithful ones to God, as Son to His Father. 

IVhen He shall have put down all ride and all authority and power. 
When He shall have destroyed the power and dominion of the devils, 
so that they shall no longer be able to attack the Church, which is 
the kingdom of God. Cf. Eph. vi. 12, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theo- 
phylact, Ambrose, QEcumenius. 

Principalities, Powers, and Dominions (the rule, and authority, and 
power oi A. V.) are names of three angelic choirs (cf. Eph. i. 21). 


It hence appears that some of them fell and became devils, and kept 
the same names, just as each kept the same nature, the same order, 
rank, and power, especially in their attacks on the Church. S. Paul 
says then that, when Christ shall have destroyed all the rule of the 
devils, who are and are called Principalities and Dominions, so that 
they might no longer attack the Church, He will then hand over the 
Kingdom to His Father, and will be the end and consummation of 
all things. 

S. Augustine {de Triniiatc, lib. i. c. 8) explains this passage of 
the good angels, and then the meaning will be : There will be no 
longer any necessity for the assistance of the angelic Principalities, 
Powers, and Dominions, and therefore their dispensation and guid- 
ance will be done away with in the Church. But the former meaning 
is truer, because the Apostle is speaking of the enemies of Clirist, as 
is clear from the next verse. 

Ver. 25. — For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies tinder His 
feet. I.e., Christ must rule the Church till God the Father puts all 
tiie devils and the wicked under Him. Till does not denote an end 
of His reign, for there is no doubt tliat when His enemies shall have 
been overcome Christ will reign more truly and for ever, though in 
another way and with other glory than now. Cf S. Chrysostom. 
It signifies what mav have been done before a certain event, not 
what was done afterwards. So Joseph (S. Matt. i. 25) is said not 
to have known Mary his wife till she brought forth her Son, not as 
though he knew her afterwards, as the impure Helvidius insinuates, 
but that he did not know her before she conceived and gave birth ; 
for S. Matthew merely wished to record a wonderful event that was 
naturally incredible, viz., the conception and birth of Christ from a 
virgin without a father. So Paul says here that even now, while the 
Church is struggling with her enemies, Christ reigns over her. More- 
over, it follows from this that Christ will reign after the struggle and 
triumph, for S. Paul implies but does not state what is evident to 
all. S. Augustine {Sentences., n. 169) well says: '•''As long as we are 
struggling against sins there is no perfect peace ; for those that oppose 
us are crushed in dangerous fight, and those that hare been overcome 


arc not yet iriuiiiphed over in the peaceful land where care cannot come, 
hit are still kept down by a poiver that must ever be on its guard." 

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. That death which 
still reigns over the bodies of the saints will be altogether destroyed 
at the resutrectiun. The first enemy of Christ and His followers is 
tlie devil, who was conquered by Christ on the Cross. The second 
is sin, which, through the grace of Christ, is being conquered by 
Christians in this life. The third is death, which will be the last to 
be overcome, and that will be in the resurrection. 

Ver. 27. — He hath put all things under His feet. God will in the 
resurrection put all men and angels, good and bad, under Christ. 
He speaks of the future as past, after the manner of the prophets. 

But whcTi lie saith . . . which did put all things imder Him. S. 
Paul adds this lest any one should suppose that the Father has given 
everything to the Son in such a way as to deprive Himself of autho- 
rity over them, for so the Father would be less than the Son and 
subject to Him. Sometimes among men, when fathers are getting 
old, they make a gift of their goods and offices to their sons, but not 
so God. 

Ver. 28. — Then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him. 
Some understand this of His Godhead, as though Christ as God will 
show Himself to have received everything, and His very Godhead, 
from His Father, and will so declare Himself to His Father. But 
tins is too bold a statement ; for the Son is not subject to the Father, 
l)ecause He has all that He has from the Father, but He is equal to 
Him in majesty and honour. Hence others often take this passage 
of Christ according to His human nature, (i.) With Chrysostom, 
He will show His subjection, and so all will see how perfect were 
the obedience and subjection of Christ here. (2.) Better, with 
Anselm, Christ will be subject as man, i.e., He will subject Him- 
self and will offer Himself with His elect to the eternal praise of God, 
and to a participation in the Divine goodness, dominion, and glory. 
For this subjection of Christ is the same as is alluded to in ver. 24, 
where it is said that Christ shall hand over the kingdom to God the 
Father, that He may fully and g'oricus'y reign over Him and His 


elect. This subjection of Christ and the saints to God is not me;m 
and servile, but blessed and glorious. For God holds them in 
heaven who are subject to Plim as sons ; He rules over them, and 
blesses them, and makes them happy with the utmost height of glory. 
Well, then, is such subjection and service called reigning, and such 
service is much to be longed for with David (Ps. Ixi. i, VuU'.) : "Shall 
not my soul be subject to God ? for of Him cometh my salvation." 
On the other hand the wicked, who will not submit themselves to 
God, will be by this very fact His enemies, and the most unhappy of 
all men. In this very word subject there seems to lurk a double 
application ; and so Gregory of Nyssa says, in his sermon on 
these words: "Subjection to God is a separation from evil that is 
perfect and absolute on every side. Christ shall be subject to His 
Father in the resurrection, because in it all the elect and faithful 
members of Christ will be clear from all evil, and will receive a 
chief part of what is good, and will be most closely united with Deity, 
and with its eternity, power, and bliss ; and then will God be all in 
all, since there will be no evil in those things that remain ; for God 
cannot be in what is evil, but must be in all that is good. Christ 
then will be subject to His Father when His Church shall be, and 
shall be so set- free from all evil ; for the subjection of the Church 
is called the subjection of Christ." (3.) The words shall be may be 
understood to denote merely a continued action. In other words, 
Christ shall persevere for ever in the subjection which He now is 
under to His Father. Hilary wrote on this sentence of the Apostle's 
against the Arians {de Trin. lib. ii.), S. Jerome {Ep. to Priticipia), S. 
Augustine (de Trin. lib. i. c. 8), wheie he says: " Christ, in so far 
as He is God with the Fatlier, has us as His subjects ; in so far as 
He is a priest. He is subject even as we to His Father. " 

That God may be all in all. Viz., as Anselm says, that God may 
have all power over all things and may show that as God He is every- 
thing to His elect, or in place of everything else ; that He is our 
life, salvation, power, plenty, glory, honour, peace, and all things, and 
the end and satisfaction of our desires. So God will rule over all 
in all things, and will subject all things to Himself and His glory. 


S. Augustine {de Civ. Dei. lib. xxii. c. 9) argues from this verse that 
the saints in heaven know our prayers and our state. 

S. Jerome {Ep ad Amafidum) appropriately says : " IVhat the 
Apostie means by saying that God shall be all in all is this : our Lord 
and Saviour is at present not all iti all, but a part ifi each one, 
e.g.. He is zvisdom in Solomon, goodness i?i David, patience in Job, 
knowledge of the future iti Daniel, faith in Peter, zeal in Phinehas 
and Paul, purity i?i John, and other things in other men. But when 
the end of all things comes, then He will be all in all, that each one 
of the saints ?nay have all virtues, and Christ may be wholly in each 
o?ie and in all." From this passage S. Augustine says {de Trin. 
lib. i. c. 8) that some Christians thought that the humanity of Christ 
would reign till the day of judgment, but would then be changed 
into His Godhead, and they thought that this change is the subjection 
to the Father, of which S. Paul here speaks. This is both foolish 
and impossible, according to the faith and to nature. 

Some who had given themselves up to the comtemplative life, 
and who aimed at an impossible closeness of union with God, and 
fanatics, have argued from this and similar passages of Scripture, 
that at the resurrection all men and all created things will return to 
their Divine archetype as it existed in eternity in God, and so would 
have to be changed into God ; that is to say, that then every crea- 
ture will have to disappear into the depths of the uncreated being, 
i.e., into the Godhead. Gerson attacks this error at length, and 
accuses Ruisbrochius of holding it ; but the latter clears himself 
from it, and attacks it in his turn {de J^erd Contempl. c. 19, and 
ad Samuel, i. 4). 

But this passage of the Apostle's lends no countenance to this 
error, but on the contrary opposes it. For if in the resurrection God 
will be all in all, all created things will be in existence still. Other- 
wise God would not be all in all, but only all in none, or in nothing. 
Moreover, we can explain by similitudes how God will be all in all 
to the blessed, (i.) As a few drops of water poured into a large 
cask of very strong wine are at once swallowed up by the wine and 
incorporated with it, so the blessed, through love and the beatific 


vision, will as it were lose themselves in God, and seem swallowed 
up and incorporated by God as their greatest good, loved above all 
things. (2.) As the light of the sun fills all the air, so that it seems 
no longer to be air but light, in the same way God will so fill the 
blessed with the light of His glory that they will seem to be, not so 
much men as gods. (3.) As iron seems to be ignited by fire and 
to be changed into fire, so will the blessed be so kindled by their 
love and enjoyment of God, that they will seem transformed into 
God. (4.) As a large vessel of sugar or honey, when poured into a 
little porridge, makes it not only sweet as honey, but as if it were 
sugar or honey, so does God by His sweetness so inebriate and 
fill with sweetness the blessed that they seem to be very sweetness ; 
for God is a sea of sweetness and an ocean of joy and consolation. 
(5.) As most sweet strains of music fill the ears of all who hear them 
and ravish their minds, or as a diamond, ruby, or emerald fills and 
dazzles the eyes of all who look upon it, so does God ravish, delight, 
and fill the minds of all the blessed. (6.) As a mirror exhibits, re- 
presents, and contains the faces and appearance of everything placed 
before it, so that they all seem to exist, live, and move in the mirror, 
so do all the blessed live, move, and have their being in God ; for 
God is a most bright and glowing mirror of everything. 

Lastly, S. Bernard (Serm. xi. in Cant.) devoutly and beautifully 
savs : " Who cati ic7tderstand how i'reat stveeiness is contained in the 
one short saying, ' God shall be all in all ? ' To say nothing of the 
body, I see in the soul three things — reason, will, and nieinoiy, and these 
three are the soul. How much of its integrity and pcifection is lacking 
to each of these in this present life is known to eveiy one who walks in 
the Spirit. Why is this, except that God is not yet all in alii Hence 
IS it that the reason is so often deceived in its judgments, and the 7vill 
7veakened by a fourfold disturbing cause, and the memory clouded over 
by manifold causes of forgetfulness. To this threefold vanity a fioble 
creature has been made subject, not tvilli7igly, but in hope. For He 
that filleth the desire of the soul with good things will Himself be to 
the reason fulness of light, to the will a nndtitiuie of peace, to the ineni- 
ory eternal continuity. O Truth! O Love ! O Eternity ! O Trinity, 


blessed and blessing, to Thee does my miserable tririily, cfler a wonder- 
ful fashion, aspire, since it is a miserable exile apart from Thee. . . . 
Put thy trust in God, for I tvill yet praise Him, when my reaso7i knows 
no error, my will no grief and my memory no fear ; and when we enjoy 
that ivondrous calm, that perfect sweetness, that eternal security which 
we hope for, God, as Truth, will give the first, as Charity the second, 
as Fciver the third, that He 7nay be all in all, when the reason 7-eceivcs 
unclouded light, when the will obtains u?ibroken peace, and the memory 
drinks for ever of ati inexhaustible Fountain. May you see all this, 
and i'ightly attribute it, first to the Son, then to the Spirit, and lastly to 
the Father." 

Ver. 29. — Else zvhat shall they do ? . . . tuhy are they then baptized 
for the dead? i. This baptism is metaphorical, the baptism of pain, 
afflictions, tears, and prayers, which they endure on behalf of the 
dead, in order to deliver them from the baptism of fire in purgatory. 
For even those Judaisers are baptized who deny the resurrection, 
like Cerinthus and others, or, at any rate, their fellow-religionists, 
the Jews, and this, according to the faith and custom of the Heb- 
rews, who are wont to pray for the dead, as appears from 2 ]\Iacc. 
xii. 43, and from their modern forms of prayer. This meaning best 
fits in with what follows. Baptism is in other places often used 
in this sense, (as S. Mark x. 58; S. Luke xii. 50; Ps. xxxii. 6). 
Throughout Scripture, waters and waves typify tribulations and 

2. '• Baptism " can also be understood of purification before the 
sacrifices which were offered for the dead. The Jews were in the 
habit of being purified before sacrifice, prayer, or any Divine service. 
Cf. S. ATark vii. 9; Heb. vi. 12, and ix. 10. 

3. The diff"erent interpretations of others are dealt with at length 
by Bellarmine {de Purgat. lib. i. c. 4) and Suarez (p. 3, qu. 56, disp. 
50, sect. 1), and they all are referred to literal baptism. 

{ci) S. Thomas explains it to mean baptism for washing away sins, 
wiiich are dead works. 

{b) Theodoret thinks that '• for the dead " is " like tiie dead," when 
they rise from death, viz., when they are baptized, and emerge from 


the waters of baptism as from tlie tomb, tliey symbolise the resur- 
rection of the dead. 

[c) Epiphanius {Hccres. 28) takes " for the dead " to mean when 
death is close at hand, and they are looked on as already dead. For 
then those who had deferretl baptism wished to be baptized in hope 
and faith in eternal life and resurrection. Hence those to be bap- 
tized used to recite the Creed, in which is the Article, "I believe in 
the resurrection of the dead."' 

id) Claud Guiliaud, a doctor of Paris, thinks that the phrase refers 
to the martyrs, who suffer for the faith and the article of the resur- 
rection of the dead. This meaning agrees well with the words that 
follow : " ^^"hy stand we in jeopardy every hour ? " 

{e) Others refer to a custom which the followers of Marcion after- 
wards observed, and suppose the meaning to be that some, in 
mistake and out of superstition, received baptism for the dead who 
had died without baptism. Cf Ambrose and Irena^us {Hares. 28), 
TertuUian [de Eesurr. c. 24) and Chrysostom. 

(/) Chrysostom proffers and prefers another explanation, viz., 
that S. Paul's meaning is : Why do all receive baptism in hope of 
the resurrection of the dead, or to benefit their state when dead, 
that it may be well with them after death, if the dead do not rise ? 
Surely, then, in vain do they do this. Eut this is not credible, for 
the common faith of all the faithful is that they do rise, so much 
so, that many of them put off their baptism, even to the end of 
life, and are baptized on their death-bed, in the hope that, being 
purged by baptism from all pain and guilt, they may fly to heaven, 
and obtain a joyful resurrection. Hence we get the name "clinical 
baptism." Many canons are e.xtant ordering that such baptism be 
not refused to those who ask for it. 

This last meaning seems the simplest of all, and the one mo-st 
on the surface, and is taken from the literal meaning of " baptized." 
TertuUian says that "for the dead" means, " JVhcn the sacrament 
of baptism is perfortned over the body, the body is consecrated tj 
i in mortality. ^^ 

Yer. 30. — And zvhy stand zve in jeopardy every hourl It is folly 


for us to expose ourselves to so many dangers and persecutions, in 
hope of the resurrection, if there is none. This is a fresh reason, 
or rather a fresh part of the reason joined to the preceding verse. 
That we all shall rise again is evident from the common belief and 
instinct of all the faithful, instilled into them both by grace and 
nature ; for all long for baptism, because of this hope of the 
resurrection. Others again, and we especially, because of the same 
hope, boldly meet and even attack all dangers and sufferings. 
God, therefore, who by nature and grace has given us this feeling 
and this courage, through hope of the resurrection, plainly testifies 
by this very fact that we shall rise again. 

Ver. 31. — 1 die daily. I.e., I expose myself every day to danger 
of death, on behalf of the Gospel and the conversion of the 

By your rejoicing. That is, I die daily for the sake of the glory 
which awaits you in heaven, in order that I may win it for you ; or, 
better still, as your father and Apostle, I swear, and call God to 
witness, by your glory, i.e., by the glorying with which I glory over 
you as my children in Christ, that I die daily, and expose myself 
to death in hope of the resurrection. Hence S. Augustine {^Ep. 89) 
proves the lawfulness of oaihs. [Cornelius \ Lapide follows the 
Latin Version, which gives glory where the A. V. has rejoicing.] 

Which I have in Christ. This is, according to Anselm, the 
future glory which, in reliance on Christ, I hope that you will have, 
or, better, the glory or glorying which I have, i.e., with which I glory 
in Christ ; for I glory that by the merits of Christ I have obtained 
it. Gagneius and Photius explain the phrase differently, and make 
it a protestation rather than an oath, and read it, " I die daily be- 
cause of your " (or, according to some Greek writers, " our ") " glory- 
ing ; " i.e., that I am able to boast of you as having been converted 
and won to Christ by my efforts. 

Take notice that the Apostle here proves the resurrection of the 
body from the immortality of the soul alone, because these two 
things are naturally connected, and because men doubted then not 
so much the resurrection in itself as the immortalitv of the soul ; so 


that if any one should prove to them the immortality of the soul, 
they would at once admit the resurrection. So S. Thomas. 

Ver. 32. — :If after the majiner of men. (i.) According to Photius, as 
far as man could; (2.) better, with human hope only, human courage, 
enterprise, love of glory, by which men are for the most part driven 
to face dangers. (3.) Others explain it as meaning, "I speak after the 
manner of men," who readily dwell on their fights and conflicts. 

/ have fougJit with beasts at Ephesus. Theophylact, Anselm, 
Primasius, and Baronius think that "beasts" refers to Demetrius and 
his savage companions, who fought fiercely and like beasts against 
Paul in defence of Diana (Acts xix.). We may then translate it : " If 
I have fought against a man who was as a beast." So Paul calls 
Nero a lion (2 Tim. iv. 17). Such men too are called bulls (Ps. 
Ixviii. 30); and S. Ignatius, in his epistle to the Romans, says: "I 
fight daily with beasts," i.e., with the soldiers guarding him. 

But Chrysostom, Ambrose^ and others think that Paul was actually 
thrown to the beasts at Ephesus and fought with them ; for this is 
the strict meaning of the Greek, and, moreover, that contest with 
Demetrius at Ephesus took place after this Epistle was written; for 
after that outbreak, Demetrius and his followers, by their violence, 
forced Paul to leave Ephesus at once, so that he had no time to 
write this letter at Ephesus ; therefore it was written before. It is 
pretty certain, as Baronius holds, that it was about that time that 
this letter was written at Ephesus. The fight with beasts, here 
spoken of, was not the one with Demetrius, which had not yet taken 
place, but an earlier one. 

It may be said, it is remarkable that vS. Luke should have said 

nothing in tlie Acts of so important an incident and so fearful a fight. 

But it is clear that S. Euke passed over things of no less moment, as, 

e.g., those related by S. Paul himself in 2 Cor. xi. 25 : "Thrice was 

I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck," 

&c. Hence Nicephorus {Hist. lib. ii. c. 25) relates, on the authority 

of tradition apparently, that this fight of S. Paul's was a literal fight 

with beasts. 

Gagneius says that the Greek means, not only to fight against 
VOL. I. 2 u 


beasls, but to fight against them to extremities, even for life. He 
turns it : " For the defence of the Gospel I was thrown to beasts, and 
fought with them to the last breath, and by the help of God I over- 
came them, and slew them not with weapons or fists but with faith 
and prayer, or I fled from them and escaped them." 

Let us eat and drink ; for to-jjwrrow we die. S. Paul is quoting Isa. 
xxii. 13. Those who deny the resurrection or who do not believe it 
are not far from the position of the wicked in Isaiah ; for if there is 
no resurrection it will be lawful to join with the Epicureans in saying, 
" Eat, play, drink : there is no pleasure after death." 

Ver. 33. -^^jv// cojjimimications corrupt good manners. Viz., with 
atheists and unbelievers who deny the resurrection. This is an 
iambic senarius of Menander's, as S. Jerome points out. 

Ver. 34. — Awake to righteousness and sin not. Awake from sin to 
be righteous. The Greek copies give " awake righteously ; " Ephrem, 
"Stir up your hearts righteously." Sin not, because some know not 
that God can call the dead to life. 

I speak this to your sha/ne. It is a shame for a Christian to have 
any doubt about the resurrection or the power of God. 

Vers. 35, 36. — But some mati wiil say . . . except it die. The 
Apostle strikes here at the root of their disease and the cause 
of their error, which was that some were despairing of and deny- 
ing the resurrection of the body, because they saw that it rotted in 
the ground, and they thought therefore it was incredible and im- 
possible for it to be raised again and refashioned. S. Paul here 
answers this objection by pointing to a grain of corn which is sown. 
It first rots and dies away in the earth, and then as it were is boni 
again and springs up, and brings forth, not merely one grain, but 
many grains from the one. In this way the one grain which is sown 
is clothed and laden at the harvest with many ears and grains, so 
that it seems to rise with greater glory. In the same way our bodies 
will rot in the ground, and thence rise to greater glory. 

Ver. 37. — Ihou sowest tiot that body that shall be. When you sow 
you do not sow the body which will rise from the seed, as, e.g., a tree 
or an ear, but bare seed of apple, or of wheat, iScc, and yet God 


gives to this seed sown, when it springs from the earth, not any 
other seed, but a complete and beautiful body, e.g., of a tree or of an 
ear, which is beautifully composed of its own stalk, beard, blossoms, 
and grains. Hence S. Augustine says (Ej^. 146) that the Apostle 
implies, "z/ God can add to the iiciv seed so/net/iing it had not before, 
much niore lati He at the resurrection restore jnafi's body." 

Ver. 38. — But God giveth . . . to every seed his own body. He 
gives to each seed the body that belongs to its own natural species, 
as, e.g., to a grain of wheat He gives a body of wheat, and not of 
barley or of oats. 

Ver. 39. — Alt flesJi is 7iot the same flesh. He goes on to prove 
what he has said, viz.. that God gives to each seed its own body as 
He hath pleased and determined. He proves it by analogy. " God," 
he says, " gives one flesh to man — his own, another to beasts, 
another to fishes, another to birds. He gives one body to the 
heavens and the stars, and another to things on earth." So, too, 
to the blessed in the resurrection, which will be a kind of regene- 
ration and new creation, will God give their own body, such as 
He sees fit to give, and such as is becoming to men beatified and 
glorified. He will give to each as he had deserved ; for there is a 
similitude and proportion between nature and merit. Such a nature 
demands such a body ; so such a degree of merit demands a corres- 
pondingly glorified body : the less the merit, the less glorified the 
body to be received ; the more the merit, the more the glory of the 

Ver. 41. — There is one glory of the sun, &c. Chrysostom, Theo- 
doret, Theophylact, Primasius, CEcumenius, Bede, Augustine {de 
Sa/ict. Virg. c. 26), Jerome (cofitra Jovinian. lib. ii.), prove from 
this that not only is the resurrection of the saints glorious, but that 
there is also an inequality of rewards in heaven, just as there is an 
inequality in the seeds of merits sown here. 

Ver. 42. — So also is the resurrection of the dead. As there is one 
brightness of the sun, another of the moon, another of the stars, 
so will God give to each of the blessed the blessed and glorious 
body that belongs to him, and that is proportioned to his merits. 


The saints and blessed are well compared to stars for reasons 
■which I have given when commenting on Rom. iv. i8. Moreover, 
as one star outshines another, so does one saint in heaven excel 
another — as in grace and merits, so in the glory and reward that he 
receives, and "the star of virginity shines among all as the moon 
among lesser lights." 

So S. Dominic, while still a boy, appeared to a noble matron in 
a vision, wearing on his forehead a bright star which irradiated the 
whole world ( F//rt', lib. i. c. i, and cap. u/t.) ; and it is said of the 
high-priest Simon, son of Onias (Ecclus. 1. 6) : " As the morning 
star shines in the midst of a cloud, and as the full moon in her 
days, or as the noonday sun, so did he s'nine in the Temple of 
God." Similar things are told us of other saints. Learned men and 
teachers of righteousness and holiness will call to mind the verse 
(Dan. xii. 3) : "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of 
the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars 
for ever and ever." (Cf. Wisd. iii. ) Hence Christ, too, says (Rev. 
xxii. 16): "I am the bright and morning star," and in Rev. i. 20: 
"The seven stars are the angels" {i.e., the doctors and bishops) 
"of the seven churches;" and in Rev. xii. i, the Church appeared 
to S. John like a woman having on her head a crown of twelve stars, 
that is of the twelve Apostles, who, like stars, shed their light over 
the Church, and that on the head, i.e., in the beginning of the 
Church, as Primasius, Aretas, Andrew Bishop of Ccesarea, Bede, and 
others explain it. Lastly, in Rev. ii. 28, Christ says : "And he that 
overcometh, to him will I give the morning star," i.e., glory and the 
beatific vision, which is called a star because of the brightness of 
its light and the clearness of the vision. It is called the morning 
star, both because it is given after the night of this world, and be- 
cause it is the beginning of the blessedness which will be completed 
at the resurrection of the body. Cf. Richard Victor, Primasius, and 

// is sown in corruption ; if is raised in incorruption. i. It is sown 
in creation, when the corruptible body is produced by the direct act 
of God, or from the seed of the father. So Anselm. 


2. Better, it is sown a human body when it is buried, and thrown 
like seed into the ground to be eaten by worms and changed into 
dust; for so grain, when sown in the ground, is cast forth, buried, 
and corrupted. So Chrysostom, Ambrose, Anselm. 

Hence they have erred who supposed that the resurrection will 
take place through the powers of nature, and that we shall rise by 
natural strength ; as though in the ashes of the corpse were latent 
seminal powers, able to make it rise again. S. Thomas refers to 
these men. This is an error opposed to the faith and to true 
philosophy, both of which declare that the resurrection is above the 
powers of nature. Tiie Apostle does not compare the body to seed 
sown in this respect, but he merely points to the fact that, as God 
has given to each seed its own body, so that, e.g., wheat springs from 
wheat and not barley, so to each of the blessed will He give a body 
corresponding to his work and merit. That this is his meaning 
appears from the following verses. To bring this out more clearly, 
S. Paul adduced, in vers. 39 and 40, a similitude drawn from the 
difference existing in the flesh and bodies of different creatures. 

The seed dying and springing up again, and as it were rising from 
death, is a remarkable image and proof of the resurrection. Hence 
S. Augustine {Senn. 34 de Verb. Apost.) says: '■''The zvhole goveni- 
ment of this world is a witness to the resiirrectioti. We see the trees at 
the approach of winter stripped of their fruits and shorn of their foliage, 
and yet in the spri?ig set forth a kind of resurrection ; for they first of 
all begin to shoot forth buds, then they are adorned with blossoms, clad 
with leaves, and laden with fruit. I ask you ivho believe not in the 
resurrection. Where are those thifigs hidden zvhich God in His own good 
time brings forth ? They are nowhere seen, yet God, who is Almighty, 
and created thon from nothing, produces them by His secret poiver. 
Then look at the nieadotvs and fields, tuhich after summer are stripped 
of their grass and floivers, and remain 7iotlmig but a bare expa?ise of 
ground; yet in the spriiig they are again clad, and rejoice the heart of 
the husbatidman when he sees the grass agaiti springing up in ?iewness 
of life. Truly, the grass which lived and died again lives from the 
seed ; so, too, does our body live again fro fn the dust." 


Ver. 43. — // IS sown in dishonour. Man's body, when it is 
buried and thrown like seed into the ground, is base, thick, 
heavy, opaque. 

It is raised in glory. It will rise glorious, clear, resplendent. The 
Apostle here strikes at another root of their error. There were some 
who at that time denied the resurrection of the body on the ground 
that the body, as being heavy and fleshy, was unfitted to be the home 
of the soul in bliss, and to enjoy the Divine life, as S. Dionysius 
testifies when refuting them {Ecdes. Hierarch. c. 7). The Apostle 
cuts this away by declaring that to the soul in glory a corresponding 
glorified body must be given. 

// is sown in weakness. Is weak, slow, inert when it dies and is 

It is raised in power. Powerful, quick, agile. 

Ver. 44. — // is soivn a nafiu'al body. It dies as it lived : its life 
was vegetative and sensitive, and needed for its support food and 
drink, like the life of other animals. So, too, it was solid, inert, 
unable to give place to other bodies, and impenetrable. Such was 
the body of Adam, even in Paradise. The natural body is one that 
eats, drinks, sleeps, digests, toils, suffers fatigue, is heavy, and offers 
resistance to other bodies. 

// is raised a spiritual body. i. Not that the body is to be 
changed into a spirit or into an aerial body, as Origen and Euty- 
chius, Patriarch of Constantinople in the time of S. Gregory, thought 
(he was convinced by S. Gregory and abandoned his error), but 
spiritual in the sense of being wholly subject and conformed to the 
spirit, so that it no longer stands in need of food or drink, it toils 
not, and feels no weariness, but is, so to speak, heavenly and deified, 
and, as Tertullian says, is, as it were, changed into the angelic nature. 
So S. Augustine {de Fide et Symb. c. 6) says : " It is called a spiritual 
body, not because it is changed into spirit, but because it is so subdued 
to the spirit that it is fitted for its heavenly dwelling-place, when all 
weakness and earthly frailty have been taken away, and transformed 
into celestial strength." Yet (c. 10) he seems to say that in the 
resurrection the body will not be of the flesh, but like that of angels. 


He retracts this, however, afterwards {Retract, lib. i. c. 17), and more 
at length {de Civ. Dei, lib. iilt. c. 5 and 21). 

2. Spiritual denotes subtilty, freedom from that heaviness and 
solidity that fills space, i.e., from that property of body by which it 
so fills space as to exclude all other bodies. The spiritual body 
will be subtle, as free from this property, and able, like spirit, to 
penetrate and fill all other bodies. Cf. Damascene (de Fide, lib. iv. 
c. 28) and Epiphanius (in Hcercs. Orig.). For, as God can take 
from man his property, viz., the power of laughing, and can take 
from fire the heat which is the property of fire, so from body 
can He take away solidity, which is the property of natural bodily 

This gift of subtilty, however, will not be a quality infused into the 
soul, for this seems an impossibility. It will be an assisting presence 
of Divine power, internal to the soul in bliss, so that the soul can, at 
its pleasure, lay aside the solidity by which it excludes other bodies, 
when it wishes to penetrate into them ; and can, on the other hand, 
retain it when it wishes to occupy space and exclude other bodies. 
And so this assisting presence of Divine power would appear to be a 
gift existing within the soul in bliss, just as the power of Avorking 
miracles in Christ came from the presence of God, who thus lent 
His help to the humanity of Christ, to enable Him to work miracles 
at His pleasure. Cf. Suarez (pt. iii. qu. 54, art. 3). 

From this place theologians have gathered the four gifts of the 
glorified body : (i.) impassibility, fi-om the words, " It is sown in cor- 
ruption ; it is raised in incorruption ; " (2.) brightness, from, "It is 
sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory;" (3.) agility, from, "It is 
sown in weakness ; it is raised in power ; " and (4.) subtilty, from, " It 
is sown a natural body ; it is raised a spiritual body." 

Suarez adds that the "agility" of the bodies of the blessed will 
be of such a kind that they will be able to travel in an instant 
from one place to another, without passing through the inter- 
mediate space; because, they say, it is probable that this is how 
angels naturally move. But others, and with greater reason, deny 
both. At all events, the mind of man can hardly conceive how 


any one can pass from one point to another and yet not cross the 
intervening space. 

S. Bonaventura (iv. dist. 49, part ii. art. 2, qu. i) thinks that these 
four gifts are alluded to in Wisdom iii. 7, where it is said: "The 
righteous shall shine, and shall run about like sparks in a bed of 
reeds." For he says: "In the shining we have brightness ; in the 
right eoiiSfiess tJJt/assibi/ity, because righteousness is everlasting and 
death/ess ; in the spark, subtilty ; in the running about, agiii/j. 
Moreover, the number of these four gifts can be arrived at in a twofold 
way — from the formal cause and the material, but specially the material. 
( I . ) Fi'om the for77ial : there is in our body a double ?iature and form — 
the elementary, which noiv holds sway, and the heavenly, 7C'hich is of 
the nature of light, and will be the for 7n and coinplement of 07ir glori- 
fied body, and will hold sway in the resurrectio7i. As, then, light, as it 
exists iti the ray, has these four qualities — the brightness by which it 
gives light ; impassibility, 7uhich 710 co7-ruption ca7i touch ; agility, from 
the rapidity of its flight ; subtilty, wliich e7iables it to pass tlwough 
t7-anspa7'e7tt bodies 7inthout injuring them — so also the glorious body, 
in which the nature of light is pi-edo/7ii7ia7it, has the sarnc four gifts. 
(2.) The nu7nber of the gifts is also gathe7'ed from the material cause. 
Our body is co77iposcd of four cle77ie7its. Si7ice those ele77ients are im- 
perfect, it has f/vm the/71 a fou7fold defect. Fro77i ivatcr, an clc7/ie7it 
that is Jm77iid a7id easily stirred, it has its passibility a7id cor7-uption ; 
f7-07n earih it has its opaqueness ; from fire, its a7ii7/ial natu7r — for a 
fi/e is ever burni/ig withi/i, and hence it needs a C07ista7it supply of food ; 
fro/n air it has its weak7iess, for air is changed t7iost easily of ail, a7id 
yields to any force, however slight. Since, therefore, these four drfects 
ought to be re77ioved by the four perfectio7is opposed to thc77i, so as to 
i7iake the body pe7fect, therefo7-e the gifts a7e four : i/7!passibility agai7ist 
corruptio7i, bright7iess agairist opaqueness, agility agai7ist a7ii77ial nature, 
subtilty or power agai7ist iveak7iess ; a7id this second 7/iode is the more 
C07ive7iient, for it has the support of autho7-ity and reason. Of autho7-ity, 
for the Apostle says : '■It is sowri i7i corruptio7i ; it is raised /'« i7icor- 
ruptio7i ' — there you have i77ipassibility ; ' It is sow7t in dishonour ; it is 
raised in glory ' — there you have bright/iess ; ' // is sow7i in wealaicss ; 


it is raised in power^ — there you have subtil ty ; '■It is sown a 7iatural 
body ; it is raised a spiritual body ' — there you have agility. The Apostle 
therefore compares these four gifts to the four defects 7i'hich they make 
good. Similarly, S. Augustine {de Civ. Dei) says : ' Our bodies will 
know no deformity, no sloivness, no infirmity, no corruption. All 
deformity will be sivallo^ved up in brightness, all slozvness in agility, 
all weakness in subiilty, all corruption in. impassibility.'' " 

Ver. 45. — As it is written, i. These words are, of course, to be 
referred to the first part only of the following verse, not to the latter : 
" The last Adam was made a quickening spirit." This last is nowhere 
else found in Scripture. S. Paul is merely proving from Scripture 
that the body is here sown a natural body, from the fact that Adam, 
the father of all men, was made a living soul, and consequently was 
an animal, and had an animal body both in death and in life. Hence 
by an hyperbaton common in S. Paul, we may read the passage : 
" The first man Adam was made, as it is written, a living soul " 
(Gen. ii. 7). 

2. The words, "as it is written," may be referred, as Theophylact 
refers them, to the whole of the following verse, and may be the 
explanation and proof of what has just gone before, viz., that if 
there is a natural body there is a spiritual body also ; for it is 
implied that it is requisite to the perfection of everything that all 
kinds of things suppose the existence of their opposites. Where 
Scripture, therefore, expressly speaks of a first Adam being made a 
living soul, it implies that the second Adam will be a quickening 

The first man jidam luas made a living S021I. Adam was made 
a soul, i.e., an animal, living a vegetative and sensitive life, and 
therefore nourished by food and drink, and needing to be preserved 
in this his animal life. S. Paul uses a synecdoche. 

T/ie last Adam was made a quickeniiig spirit. In order that alter 
His resurrection He might have a glorious soul to give life to His 
body and to make it spiritual, i.e., glorious like a spirit, independent 
of food, impassible, and deathless. His body here, indeed, is ours 
as well as His own. S. Paul here again uses a synecdoche, and his 


meaning is that Christ received a spirit or soul, able to quicken 
Himself and His members. 

Theophylact, Chrysostom, and Theodoret remark that S. Paul 
does not say a "living spirit," but a "life-giving spirit;" for the 
soul or spirit of Christ does not merely enjoy life itself, but also 
gives life to others, and the life which He gives glorifies both our 
souls and bodies. 

Ver. 47. — The first man is of the earth, earthy : the second man is 
the Lord fro7n heaven. The Vulgate reading here is "the second 
man is of heaven, heavenly." This was corrupted into "the second 
man is the Lord from heaven " by Marcion, as Tertullian proves 
(contra Marcio?iem, lib. i. c. 5). The Latin rendering, therefore, is 
the more genuine. 

Valentinus and the Gnostics gathered from this passage that 
Christ had not a material and human body, but that He brought 
from heaven a heavenly one, and passed through the Blessed Virgin, 
not as her child, but as rain-water passes through a pipe. This is 
a heresy long ago condemned, as S. Augustine testifies {Hceres. 11), 
and Irenseus {lib. i. c. 5), and Tertullian {de Came Christi, c. viii.). 
I. Bede rightly says : " Christ is called heavenly, because He led a 
heavenly life and was always without sin; Adam is called earthy 
because he was subject to sin." Hence there follows : " As is the 
earthy," &c. 

2. Christ is called heavenly because He was conceived and born 
of the Virgin by the heavenly power of the Holy Spirit, above the 
ordinary course of nature. S. Ambrose, S. Hilary (de Trin. lib. i.), 
S. Augustine {Dial, ad Orosium, qu. 4). 

3. Christ is called heavenly by reason of His Divine and heavenly 
substance. In the same way He is calied the Son of man, i.e., the 
Man who came down from heaven (S. John iii. 13). See Gregory of 
Nazianzen (Orat. 51) and Augustine {Ep. 57 ad Darda7iuni). 

4. The most natural sense in which Christ is called " heavenly " 
is that He is glorious and incorruptible, like the inhabitants of heaven. 
This celestial glory Christ had substantially in His soul from the 
moment of His conception. He had it, too, in His body, because 


it was His due, and was natural to His body ; but its manifestation 
was suspended and postponed, on account of His Passion, in order 
that He might assume it in His resurrection. Yet even before His 
death, Christ now and tlien assumed this glory, or the four gifts of 
the glorified body, viz., brightness in His transfiguration, agility when 
He walked on the sea, subtilty when He penetrated the womb of 
His mother, impassibility in the Eucharist. On the other hand, 
Adam is called " earthy " because he was formed from the earth, and 
hence and from sin contracted mortality, and the other qualities of 
an earthly, animal, mortal, and corruptible body. So S. Chrysostom, 
Augustine {de Civ. Dei, lib. xiii. c. 23), TertuUian {de Res^tn: c. 49) ; 
for the Apostle is speaking here of the resurrection, and the glory 
of the bodies of the blessed, the pattern of which is the glorified 
body of Christ, and hence he calls Christ heavenly, and His body 
heavenly also. 

Ver. 48. — As is the earthy, such are they that are earthy. As Adam 
was formed from the earth, was earthy, and died, and returned to the 
earth, so also all the earthy born from him shall return to the earth. 

As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavctily. As Christ 
by His resurrection obtained a body that was heavenly, i.e., immortal 
and glorious, so too do the saints who are born again of Him become 
heavenly, i.e., immortal and glorious. 

Ver. 49. — As we have home the image of the earthy we shall also 
bear the image of the heavenly. The Latin reading is, "let us bear." 
If we adopt the future, " we shall bear," the reference will be to the 
resurrection, when we shall be fashioned like to Christ in His glorious 
body, as in this world we were made like Adam in having a life that 
needed food, sleep, tSrc, and that was subject to death. The I>atin 
reading, "let us bear," is in consonance with the practice of the 
Apostle, who frequently passes on to enforce a precept in this way. 
The meaning then is : As we sometime Hved in unbelief and in sin, 
as earthly men, intent on the earth and living an animal life, like the 
brutes that perish, even as Adam did, who was of the earth and sinful, 
so, now that we have been born again into Christ, and called by Him 
to a fellowship of immortal life and glory, let us endeavour with all 


our might to afain it, and consequently let us bear the image of the 
heavenly Christ, that we may enter on this heavenly life here, viz., 
(r.) let us be, as He, impassible, i.e., undisturbed by prosperity or 
adversity, so that we can say with Socrates, "I have climbed up into 
heaven in mind : this lower sun and soil I now despise ;" (2.) let us 
be bright like Christ, that our good works may shine before all men ; 
(3.) let us be agile like Christ, apt to works of charity, of obedience, 
and of other virtues ; (4.) let us be subtle, as was Christ, i.e., let us 
cleave the skies by prayer and m.editation, that having ascended from 
the earth to heaven and to God in heart and mind, we may be joined 
to the saints and united to God. S. Cyril {de Fide ad Tiieodos.) 
interprets it a little differently. He says : ''As we bear the image of 
the earthy, let tis also bear the image of the heavenly. Tlie image of 
the earthy is our propensity to sin and the death which folloivs it. 
The image of the heavenly, i.e., of Christ, is His constancy in holi?iess, 
and a i-eiurti and renovation from death and corruption to life and 

S. Bernard beautifully explains these words of the Apostle {Serm. 
30 inter Parvos). He says : " There are two men, the old a7idthe new. 
Adam is the old man, Christ is the new. The Ofie is earthy, the other 
heavenly. The image of the one is our former state, of the otlier our 
7iewness of life. Each of these is threefold. Our fortner corruption was 
in heart, in mouth, and in body, in which we sinned in three ways, in 
thought, zi'ord and deed. In the heart there are carnal and worldly 
desires, the love of the flesh and the love of the world ; in the mouth is 
a double evil, boasting and detraction ; iti the body degrading vices and 
disgraceful crimes. All these are tJie image of the old man, and all these 
are to be retieived in us. . . . Dwelling in the heart is wisdom, in the 
mouth is truth, in the body righteousfiess." 

Ver. 50. — Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit 
the kingdo7n of God. 

(i.) Origen and Euthymius explain this as follows, that in heaven 
the blessed will not have a body of fle^h but an etherial body. But 
this is a manifest error, and opposed to ver. 53, as we shall see. 
(2.) Theophylact and Ambrose say that the flesh, or the works of the 


flesh, will not inherit the kingdom of God. But (r.) The natural 
meaning is that natural and corruptible flesh and blood, such as the 
earthly Adam had and such as we have in this life, will not inherit 
the kingdom of God. Wiiat the Apostle, in vers. 46, 47, called 
natural and earthly, he here calls flesh and blood. He merely wishes 
to point out that in heaven the body will not be as here, natural and 
earthly, but spiritual and heavenly, in the sense that I have explained 
(ver. 47). This is why he adds, "neither doth corruption," i.e.^ 
corruptible flesh, "inherit incorruption." Cf. Theodoret, Theophy- 
lact, Ambrose. (2.) The Apostle leaves it to be collected from these 
words that in heaven there will be no carnal and animal life, con- 
sisting in the use of food and generation of children, sucii as the 
Jews and Mahometans look for at the resurrection. (3.) He implies 
that those who are striving for the kingdom of God ought not to live 
after tlie flesh, but after the Spirit of Christ, that so they may bear the 
image, not of the earthly and carnal Adam, but of the heavenly and 
spiritual Christ; then they will merit to reign with Christ, and to 
live a life of bliss in heaven. " Flesh "often stands for the corruption 
of the flesh. Cf. Augustine i^Ep. 146 ad Consentiiim'). 

Ver. 51. — Behold, I shotv yon a mystery. Theophylact says that 
by these words the Apostle wishes to arouse the attention of his 
readers, and to point to some great, dreadful, and hidden fact about 
the resurrection. 

We shall all indeed rise again, but zve shall not all be changed. 
There are three variant readings here, the first that of the Greek 
Fathers and of Ephrem, "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be 
changed." This is adopted by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, 
Origen {contra Cels7i//i, lib. ii.), Theodoras, Heracleotes, Apollin- 
arius (quoted by S. Jerome, Ep. ad Mineriinn et Alexandrum), 
TertuUian {de Resurr. Carnis, c. 41 and 62), Augustine (qu. 3, ad 
Dulcitiuni), who think that all will not die, i.e., that some who are 
alive at the end of the world will be caught up with Christ the Lord, 
and so will be glorified. For this change, Theophylact say?, follow- 
ing Chrysostom, will be to them death ; for corruption will die in 
them by being changed into incorruption, 


The second reading is, " We shall all sleep, but we shall not all be 
changed. This appears in S. Augustine (de Civ. Dei, lib. xx. c. 20), 
and is approved by S. Jerome in the passage above quoted. The 
third reading is that of the text. S. Augustine prefers this to the 
others given above, and it is undoubtedly plainer, truer, and more 
certain, and more consistent with the context and with the other 
passages of S. Paul's, in which he lays down that it is appointed 
unto all men once to die. Cf. also ver. 22 : "As in Adam all die." 

Though the first rendering does not appear to be true, yet, 
because of the authorities in favour of it, it is not to be condemned 
as rash or certainly false. Hence Franciscus Suarez and others say 
that the opinion that all men, without a single exception, will die 
and rise again is only more probable than its opposite. 

Ver. 52. — In a /iionicjit. We shall rise in an instant, in a point of 
time, so short as to be indivisible, as S. Jerome says. 

Iti the twinkling of an eye. The word for " twinkling " is derived 
from the hurling of a thunderbolt or a javelin. Others, with S. 
Jerome {Ep. ad Menerium), read another word, which denotes the 
instant fall of the balance when a heavier weight is placed in one 
scale. Cf. Wisd. xi. 23. 

Theodoret, OEcumenius, Anselm, Gregory of Nyssa {Onit. de 
Resurr), S. Jerome (in the passage just quoted), Augustine {Ep. 49, 
c. i) gather from this that the resurrection will take place, not in a 
very short space of time, but instantaneously. This may be true of 
tiie formation, organisation, and re-vivification of the body when it 
rises, and indeed the Apostle says as much when he writes "in a 
moment," but it is very doubtful whether it refers to local motion, 
as to the coming together of the different parts of the body from 
different places. S. Augustine maintains, and Suarez (part iii. qu. 
53, disp. 44, sect. 4) shows that it is possible that by the power of 
God these different parts of the body can pass from point to point 
without travelling over the intermediate space, and that so all can 
at once come to the same place, in a moment of time. But, as was 
pointed out at ver. 44, the nature of space and of motion does not 
seem to allow of that, but rather to force us to admit that nothing 


can lass from one place to another without crossing over the space 

Hence it seems to others more hkely that by the power of God 
motion may tal-ce place in an instant from one point to another by a 
passage over the intervening space, as the sun uniformly pours his 
light in every direction over half the world in a single instant. Why 
should it not be said that t'ne body can in the same way, by the 
power of God, dart itself from one place to another? If one is 
instantaneous, why may not the other be ? 

But it may plausibly be answered that there is a great difference be- 
tween the nature of light and of material bodies ; for though the mode 
of travelling of both may seem the same, yet in the case of light it 
is not the same point of light that is carried continuously onward, 
but point succeeding point ; but in the case of a body it is the same 
identical body that in one instant has to leave one space and pass 
through the next, and in tlie self-same instant leave that and pass 
through a third, and a fourth, fifth, and sixth, and so on, through all 
the intermediate spaces to the end. But this seems impossible ; 
for if so, in the same instant the same body would be crossing 
through and leaving the same space^ would be in this space and 
not be in it, nay, would be in all the intervening spaces and would 
not be in tiiem. Hence S. Thoinas and others are better advised 
in denying that this transference of the parts of the body to the 
same place will take place instantaneously, especially since it will be 
brought about by the ministry of angels, who move bodies, not 
instantaneously, but in a very brief space of time. The Apostle then 
is speaking here of the resurrection alone, not of the transference of 
the risen bodies, when he says that it will take place in the twinkling 
of an eye, even in a moment. 

At the last trump. From Rev. viii. and ix. it appears that, 
at the end of the world, the seven angels to whom the care of 
. man has been wholly given will sound with seven trumpets, to 
announce the last calamities and punishments which are coming 
on the world, and as it were to call them forth and to bring them 
to pass. After them there will follow this last trumpet, calling 


out, " Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment." See notes to 
I Thess. iv. i6. 

Ver. 53. — For this corruptible must put on incorruption. The 
word "this" declares, in opposition to Origen, that the resurrection 
body will be numerically the same as now. Cf. S. Jerome {Ep. ad 

Ver. 54. — Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 
Death is szvallozved up in victory. This is either from Isa. xxv. 8, 
where S. Paul follows the Hebrew text rather than the Septuagint, 
or the sense and not the words of Hosea xiii. 14 is given. This seems 
preferable, as ver. 55 seems to be taken from the same place. 

Ver. 55. — O death, where is thy sting 1 O grave, where is thy 
victory? This question received its first answer when Christ rose 
and brought back from their limbus the souls of the saints, and so 
rescued this part of His spoil from Hades. Cf. Anselm and Origen 
{Hojn. xxii. in Evang.), and Augustine {Serm. 137 de Tempore). 
The final answer will be given at the resurrection of all, as the 
Apostle says here. S. Jerome, writing to Heliodorus about Nepotianus, 
lately dead, beautifully addresses Death, and exults over it with S. 
Paul. He says : '■'■By Hosea He formerly sternly threatened thee : ' O 
death, I will be thy plagues ; O grave, I will be thy destruction.' By 
His death thou now art dead; by His death we live. Thou hast 
devoured and been swallowed tip, afid when thou wast tempted 7vith 
the bait of the body asstimed by Christ, a?id thoughtest it a prey meet 
for thy greedy jaws, thou wast straightzvay pierced within by the barbed 
hook. We, Thy creation, give thanks to Thee, Christ our Saviour, that 
when Thou wast slain Thou didst slay this our powerful foe.^'' 

Similarly, S. Francis, when suffering from the most grievous bodily 
pains, found no relief but in singing the praises of God and in hear- 
ing others singing them ; and, when he was reproved by Elias for 
devoting his last moments to joy instead of to repentance, he replied 
that it was not right for him to do otherwise when he knew that in a 
short time he should be with God. S. Reginald, one of the first 
companions of S. Dominic, when bidden prepare himself, according 
to custom, by extreme unction, for his contest with the devil, said : 


'^ I have little fear of that contest, 7iay, rather, I joyfulty look forward 
to it ; for long ago was I atwinted by the mother of mercy : in her 
1 fut my utmost cotifidence, and set out to her with eagerness." S. 
Bernard {Serm. 26 in Cafitica), speaking of the death of his brother 
Gerard, who in his last moments had broken out in the words of the 
Psalmist, "Praise the Lord of heaven; praise llim in the height," 
wrote as follows : " On thee, my brother, though it 7C>as still midnight, 
day was dazvning ; the flight was as bright as the day. I zvas sum- 
moned to behold that marvel, to see a man rejoicing in death, taunting 
death: ' O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is tJiy victory V 
There is no longer a sting, btit a shout of victory. Man ?iozv dies sing- 
ing, and in singing dies.'''' 

Ver. 56. — The sting of death is sin. Theophylact says that the 
sting by which death chiefly hurts and pierces us is like the sting of 
the scorpion, which, though a tiny animal, slays by its sting. So death 
slays all by sin, and would be powerless without sin. Moreover, death 
stings and pierces us by sin and by knowledge of sin as his sting, 
saying to the soul, as it were: "You die; you suffer deservedly, because 
you have sinned." 

The strength of sin is the laiv. Sin gains its strength chiefly through 
the law. The prohibitions of the law are the occasions of sin, for we 
always strive after what is forbidden and long for what is denied us 
Cf notes to Rom. viii. 8 and 13. Cf. also Theodoret, Theophylact, 
Ambrose, Anselm. 

Ver. 57. — Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory. I.e., over 
death and sin. 

Ver. 58. — Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stcdfast, unmoveable. 
Viz., in the belief of the resurrection, that ye may abound in good 
works well pleasing to God, stirring up yourselves to them by the 
hope of the resurrection and of the eternal reward, knowing that 
your labour will not be in vain, or without its reward with the Lord. 
This is the force of the phrase, " in the Lord." 

VOL. I, 2 c 


I He exhorteth them to relieve the want of the brethren at Jervsalem. lo Com- 
mendeth Timothy, 13 and after f}-iendiy admonitions, 16 shtUteth tip his 
epistle with divers salutations. 

NOW concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the 
churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 

2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as 
God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 

3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I 
send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. 

4 And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me. 

5 Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia : for I do 
pass through Macedonia. 

6 And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may 
bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. 

7 For I will not see you now by the way ; but I trust to tarry a while with 
you, if the Lord permit. 

8 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. 

9 For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many 

10 Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear : for 
he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. 

11 Let no man therefore despise him : but conduct him forth in peace, that he 
may come unto me : for I look for him with the brethren. 

12 As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you 
with the brethren : but his will was not at all to come at this time ; but he will 
come when he shall have convenient time. 

13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. 

14 Let all your things be done with charity. 

15 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the 
firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of 
the saints,) 

16 That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with iis, 
and laboureth. 

17 I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus : for 
that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. 

18 For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye 

them that are such. 



19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in 
the Lord, with the cluuch that is in their house. 

20 All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss. 

21 1 he salutation of me Paul with mine own hand. 

22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema 

23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 

24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. 

Ver. I. — Now concerning the collection for the saints. The saints 
here meant were the poor Christians living at Jerusalem. Cf. ver. 3 
and Rom. xv. 26. For the Christians at Jerusalem, as appears from 
Heb. X. 34, were robbed of their goods and grievously harassed by 
their fellow-countrymen, who were the most bitter foes of Christ. 
Hence an injunction was given to S. Paul in the Council of Jeru- 
salem to be as mindful of the poor Jews as of the Gentiles (Gal. 
ii. 10). He orders, therefore, that alms be regularly collected for 
them ; and this practice lasted till the time of Theodosius. Cf 2 
Cor. viii. 

Ver. 2. — Let every one lay by him in store — the amount that he may 
wish to give at this collection on the Lord's Day. The first day of 
the week was the day on which the faithful assembled in church and 
made their oblations, even as they do now ; for from this passage it 
is evident that, by Apostolic institution, a collection was wont to be 
made on the Lord's Day. When this custom had been discontinued 
at Constantinople, S. Chrysostom had it restored, and delivered a 
remarkable sermon on almsgiving and collections at the time. Again, 
S. Chrysostom well remarks that it was well ordered that the collec- 
tion should take place on the Lord's Day, for on it God created the 
world and re-created it when lost, when Christ rose on the first day 
of the week and sent His Holy Spirit on the same day ; and, there- 
fore, we should keep in mind the great mercy that we have received 
on that day, and be merciful and liberal ourselves to others who are 
in need. 

Moreover, it appears from this verse, that in the time of the 
Apostles the Sabbath had given way to the Lord's Day, and that 
is evidently implied by S. John (Rev. i. 10), when He says: "I was 


in the Spirit on the Lord's Day." Moreover, it follows secondly, in 
opposition to the Protestants, that even unwritten traditions are 
to be observed, for Scripture nowhere orders the Lord's Day to be 
kept instead of the Sabbath. 

S. Thomas and Cajetan think that each one of the faithful is 
here bidden to lay by at home, each Lord's Day, his offering, and 
give it in the church, not on that day, but later on, when it was 
to be sent to the poor of Jerusalem. But the practice of the 
Church shows that the opposite is meant, viz., that the oblations 
should be offered at the altar each Lord's Day, and the same thing 
is shown by the words that follow, "that there be no gatherings 
when I come." He wishes, then, these offerings to be put by 
each Lord's Day, before the supper and the agape, and then, when 
the Eucharist was celebrated in the church, to be collected as 
alms. Notice that "to lay by in store" is in Greek "to treasure 
up," for he who treasures up for the poor lays up treasure for 
himself in heaven. 

Ver. 3.—/ ^vUl send your liberality to Jerusalem. O-^cumenius 
points out that he does not here speak of alms, as he might truly 
have done, because the name of alms is degrading and insulting to 
the saints who were to receive them, but he uses a more polite 
term — Hberality, kindness, blessing. 

And if it be meet that I go also they shall go with me. S. Paul 
stirs up the Corinthians by these words to make a larger collection, 
one large enough to be fit for him to take. 

Ver. 8. — Iivill tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. Viz., because at 
Ephesus was the famous temple of Diana, and because the chief 
men of Asia Minor lived there. Hence the Proconsul of Asia 
Minor resided at Ephesus, and, as Philostratus says ( Vita Apollonii, 
lib. viii.), learning flourished there most; and, therefore, there was a 
greater harvest for S. Paul, and this was what determined him to stay 
so long there. 

Ver. 9. — A great door . . . is opened unto me. A great oppor- 
tunity of preaching the Gospel and of converting many. So 


Ver. 14. — Let all your things be done with charity. This, ac- 
cording to some, is not supernatural charity, but the sincere 
affection which penitents or even unbelievers can possess. But 
this is not the charity which Scripture and S. Paul commend to 
the faithful, but merely such natural love as pagans have. The 
sense properly speaking is therefore : " Do all your works, O 
Corinthians, not from ambition, nor from contention or schism, 
as I told you in chaps, ii. and xiv., but in Christian charity, wiiich 
is a Divine virtue infused into you by Christ." This is partly a 
precept, partly a counsel of perfection, as was pointed out in the 
notes to chap. x. 31. 

Ver. 15. — I beseech you, brethren, &c. Theophylact arranges this 
verse and the next in this way : I beseech you, brethren, that ye 
submit yourselves to Stephanas, Fortunaius, and Achaiacus, and to 
every one that works with them and labours ; for ye know their house 
{i.e., houses or families), that they are the firstfruits of Achaia 
(viz., that they were the first in Achaia to believe on Christ), and 
that they have devoted themselves and all that they have to the 
ministering to the saints (i.e., in showing hospitality to needy 
Christians and to strangers, and especially those who labour in the 
Gospel). The submission enjoined here would consist in showing 
honour, and in following their exhortations and good example. The 
fellow-labourers are those who helped the men mentioned above 
in their Christian work. 

Ver. 1 7. — / atn glad of the J)resence of Stephanas, and Fortunatus, 
and Achaiacus. (i.) According to Anselm this presence means the 
presence of these men with the Corinthians to supply, teach, and 
strengthen them in the faith. (2.) According to Theophylact it is 
the presence of these men with S. Paul, to supply him with what 
he needed for his ministry from their own resources, and so to hel() 
forward the cause of Christ. This is undoubtedly S. Paul's meaning, 
and suits better with what follows. 

Ver. 18. — For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Wiiat re- 
freshes me refreshes you. Theophylact thinks that these men were 
so warmly commended to the Corinthians, to prevent them from 


being treated coldly or severely for having brought to S. Paul news 
of the divisions and backslidings of the Corinthians. 

Ver. 2 2. — If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be 
Anathema. "Anathema" denotes anything separated by a curse, 
thrown away, and destined for utter destruction. In the case 
of men it denotes, therefore, eternal damnation. These are not 
words of excommunication merely, but of cursing, and of denunci- 
ation of eternal damnation against unbelievers and all who love 
not Christ. Cf. notes on Rom. ix. 3. Next to "anathema" was 
reckoned "katathema," which was a term applied to those who 
allied themselves to persons under condemnation. Hence Justin 
(qu. 121) says: "^Anathema' denotes atiy thing laid aside and set 
apart for God, and no longer put to comnioji uses, or what has been 
cut off from God because of its vice or guilt. ' Katathema ' is applied 
to those who cofisent to men under anathema, or ivho devote themselves 
to the gods belo7C'.^^ 

Afaran-atha. This is properly two words. Erasmus thinks it is 
the same as "anathema," and he compares with its use here, "Abba 
Father." But he is mistaken : the words are Hebrew-Syriac, and 
signify, " The Lord has come." The first part is still in common 
use among the Christian churches of India and Babylon, which 
look to S. Thomas as their founder, and is applied to their bishops, 
as Mar Simeon, Mar Joseph, &c. But what has the phrase, "the 
Lord has come," to do with the context here? Chrysostom and 
Theophylact say that S. Paul uses this word in order to point to 
Christ's coming in our flesh, and His charity, to stimulate us to 
endeavour to come to every degree of virtue, and, as S. Jerome says, 
to hint that it is foolish to contend any longer by wanton hatred 
of one another against Him who, as every one knows, has now 
come. S. Chrysostom says, further, that the reason why S. Paul 
denounces anathema against those who love not Jesus is, that He 
has now come in His humility to save, so that there is now no 
excuse for not loving Him ; for the Incarnation and Passion of 
Christ so win our love that the man who does not love Him is 
unworthy of pardon. 


But this explanation seems too forced. Notice, then, that " Maran- 
atha" is a Syro-Hebraic phrase, which, with Amen, Hosanna, 
and Alleluia, has been transliterated into other languages. Cf. 
S. Jerome {Ep. 137 ad Marcellam) and S. Augustine {Ep. 178). 
And so S. Paul adds here, after "Anathema," " Maran-atha," be- 
cause the Hebrews, when passing sentence on any one, were in 
the habit of invoking the Divine justice to confirm their own. Cf 
Dan. xiii. 55 and 59 (Vulg.), and Ps. ix. 19. It is, then, a prayer : 
"May the Lord come as Judge to punish him who loves not 

Notice again that by a euphemism the Hebrews commonly let 
this punishment be understood. Their usual formula is, " May God 
do so to me and more also," without specifying the particular form 
of punishment that they wish to call down on themselves if they 
break their oath. They do this out of reverence for an oath, and 
from the fear that the curse, if openly expressed, may fall upon them 
in some way, just as among us now-a-days, when any one is enraged 
and falls to cursing, or calling down on his friend some dreadful 
disaster, he will by-and-bye add : " God avert this ! " "God forbid it ! " 
"God protect us!" Similarly, when it is here said, "The Lord is 
coming," or, "May the Lord come," supply "to judgment," viz., to 
inflict everlasting punishment on unbelievers and the enemies of 
Christ. Anselm says : '■'• If any 07ie love 7iot the Lord Jesus Ch?'ist, 
as His first co/fiing is of 710 use to hif/i, so 7ieither will His secoTid 
coj/iing to judg7ne7it be.'''' The explanation of Titelnian is the 
same: "Zt?/ hi))i be a7iathe7}ia in the coming of the Lord to judg- 
tnent." S. Clement, too, seems to interpret " Maran-atha " in the 
same way {Ep. 2 in Fine), when, in allusion to this passage, he 
says : " This, 7ny brother Ja7)ies, have 1 haxrd enjoined by the ?nouth 
of S. Peter : ' If any one keep not these precepts e7iti7-e, let him be 
anathema till the co7ni7ig of our Lord Jesus Christ.'''' What else 
explains these last words but the " Maran-atlia" of SS. Peter and 

S. Paul refers here to the last verse of the prophecy of Malachi, 
"lest I come and smite the earth with a curse," and primarily to the 


Book of Enoch, quoted by S. Jude in his epistle (vers. 14 and 15) : 
" Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of His saints, to 
execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are un- 
godly," &c 

Ver. 24. — Afy love be with you all in Christ Jesus. May the love 
tliat I bear you flow back to me and towards each other for Christ's 
sake. Amen. 

Think of eternity — Anathema Maran-atha ! 


Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. 
Edinburgh and London 

The Great Commentary of 
Cornelius I. Lapide,